If you never get pulled over by the police, you have lived a lucky life. Even when you have done nothing wrong, it can be an incredibly scary experience to the uninitiated, and your mind will be full of worries about police shootings, rogue cops, and a lot more besides.
With this in mind, it’s vital to learn what to do before the event happens. And we’re going to explain a few of the basics for you today. Read on to find out more and discover how to deal with police stops and traffic law enforcers in a safe and sensible matter.
The first signs
First of all, if you see a police vehicle with flashing lights and hear its siren blaring, it’s important not to panic. Police officers are looking for a reason to suspect you of something, so any panicked movements or jerky driving are going to give them what you need. Just relax, and wait until it is safe to pull over on the right.Just make sure that when you find the first safe stopping point, you use it. Don’t forget, even the fact you have pulled over as soon as you safely can will be to your benefit. It shows you are alert and aware of your surroundings – and driving well.
The big wait
Don’t get out of your car unless asked. Just stop, turn off your engine, and wind down your window a little – wind it all the way and the police officer could accuse you of having alcohol on your breath, even if you haven’t been drinking. While you might be able to protect yourself from a wrongful DWI with Scheiner Law Group or your local DUI/DWI lawyer, it’s still a good idea to limit the officer’s opportunities to take things further. Finally, it’s a good idea to put your hands on the steering wheel while you wait for the officer to approach. Many officers are – rightly – jumpy about traffic stops, and many have been shot and killed, so give them a break by easing their nerves. Similarly, don’t reach for your pocket or glove compartment for documents unless asked – the officer might think you are reaching for a gun.
The next steps
A police officer cannot search you or your vehicle on a whim, in the vast majority of cases. They will need to have further evidence that you are being furtive or acting in a suspicious manner. However, the law enforcement official can ask you and your passenger to get out of the car, and we would advise you to do so! They can give you a pat down if they have reason to believe you are carrying a weapon, and you might also be asked to perform some sobriety tests if they suspect you have been drinking.
Finally, never be hostile with a police officer – you will just be prolonging your own agony. And don’t say more than you have to, either. Some police officers can be a little devious, and try and prise more information out of you than you need to give, but it’s all part of the game. If you are polite, friendly, and unargumentative, you should be able to get through your ordeal. And even if you don’t you can always call your attorney as soon as you get home!