10 Things You Must Know when Pulled Over by Cops/Traffic Police
You often find yourself at crossroads with a siren ringing behind you, with no clue about why you are being pulled over. At other times, this happens with the complete knowledge of whatever you have done wrong. Either way, your encounter with the officer can make or break a possible conviction, so knowing how to deal with it is imperative.
How Should You Handle Being Pulled Over?
Much of what happens next will depend on how you interact with the law enforcement person who has pulled you over, including your behavior, responses, tone and conduct. Never misbehave with an officer in any way, as this can land you directly in jail and add to the penalties imposed on you even if you were pulled over for general inquiry.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind while dealing with the officer who has pulled you over:
- Once you know that a police officer is expecting you to pull over, the first thing to do is turn the right indicator on to convey to them that you are going to pull over. Also, do not hurry but check behind you for the right time to pull over without causing a crash. Remember, never to try and bribe an officer. This can go really bad!
- Once you have parked the car, turn the engine off. Rest your hands in clear sight, preferably on the steering wheel, and with the interior light turned on if it is nighttime. Do not get out of the car until told to do so, since that raises suspicion and may cause the officer to react.
- Do not fidget or act as nervous, but stay calm and collected. This especially involves sitting in a comfortable posture. If you turn or bend in a certain position, the police officer might suspect you of trying to hide something, which means you will be asked to step out of the car so he/she can search you as well as the car.
- Do not try to resist the police officer or get aggressive with him/her. Do exactly as they say and unless you’re intoxicated or are suspected to have committed a felony, you will be good to go. Understand that in this situation, the officer is in charge and until he/she tells you to go, you cannot, so let them carry out usual protocol.
- Never give out more information than you are supposed to or asked about, which can go against you, causing suspicion without you even realizing it. So, answer everything the officer asks, but do not argue or expand on it unnecessarily. Do that in the court when convincing the jury of your innocence.
- How you behave can tell a lot about your mental state. So try and act composed. There is a good possibility that the police officer was observing you for a while via traffic stop cameras. Even if there are no videos, the police report requires a detail on your behavior. So just relax.
- One of the most common questions that officers routinely ask is the amount of alcohol you have had to drink. What most people do is answer with an understatement such as ‘a drink or so’. Instead, you should tell them you do not remember because these understatements can have severe consequences in court.
- You may be required to take a blood alcohol content test. You may want to say no, but think again. Once you acquire a driver’s license, you also consent to take a BAC test whenever required. If you refuse to do so for any reason, you may face harsh penalties that could have been avoided. However, if you’re sure of being under major alcohol/drug influence, avoid taking the test and call a attorney.
- There are tests that are only imposed on a voluntary basis so get out of any test that you can. Some of the common voluntary tests in some states include the one leg stand test. When asked to do a test, politely ask the officer if it is mandatory or voluntary and in case of the latter, skip it.
- If you are pulled over by a person who does not seem to have a ‘police officer vibe’, the wise thing to do is to ask them to lead you to the police station and conduct the questioning there, in a supervisor’s presence. Trust your gut – better safe than sorry, after all!
If you follow these instructions, there is a good chance that you can get away without much of a fuss when you’re pulled over. If you don’t, make sure to hire an attorney who can deal with the legalities of the case.