No doubt about it, getting pulled over is not an enjoyable experience. Many people get nervous, and unfortunately, many more people do not seem to understand their rights. Follow these simple steps to make getting pulled over go as smoothly as possible.
- DO NOT panic. There is likely nothing to be worried about. Pull over calmly, turn off your ignition, roll down your windows, and have your license and registration ready.
- DO NOT speak first. Instead, let the officer control the conversation, and answer with simple yes or no responses when applicable.
- DO NOT argue unnecessarily with the officer. There is no reason to be confrontational with a police officer. It will just extend the time that you are stuck in this situation, and put the officer in a bad mood to boot. Instead, remain calm and polite, and answer the officer’s questions.
- DO NOT consent to a search. If an officer asks if he or she can search your car, know that you can absolutely say NO, unless they have probable cause to search. Remember, rule number 3, though. There is no reason to be confrontational or off-putting when refusing a search.
- DO NOT allow the officer to coerce any passengers. Any passenger in your vehicle has the same rights as you, the driver of the vehicle, and should follow all of the above rules.
Keep these guidelines in mind, and the stop will go smoothly and quickly. The officer is not trying to ruin your day, just do his or her job. If you are given a citation, contact a lawyer as soon as you can. Legal representation will be able to tell you exactly what your options are, and can begin the legal process so you don’t have to deal with it alone.