Whether you have never been pulled over before or you have been stopped many times, seeing blue lights behind you can be very anxiety-inducing. However, following a few guidelines can ensure your safety, prevent additional charges, and strengthen your case should you be cited or arrested.
- Slow down and pull off to a safe spot on the right.
If at all possible, avoid pulling off to the left. It is typically okay to slow down and show that your intention is to find a safe spot to pull over. However, if you continue passing places that you could pull over at, you risk an unpleasant encounter, or worse: the officer believing you are fleeing. Do not be surprised if the officer approaches your vehicle from the passenger side as many departments train their officers to do so in order to avoid being struck by oncoming traffic.
- Roll down your window.
Do not exit your vehicle. No matter how much you believe getting out to speak to the officer will benefit you, resist the urge unless ordered to do so.
- Place both of your hands on the wheel.
This is especially true for Concealed Carry (CCW) permit holders. If you have a firearm or other weapon in the vehicle and a valid CCW permit, inform the officer immediately. Disclose the location of your weapon and do not reach for it at any time. Even if you are not armed, keeping your hands in plain view lets the officer know that you mean no harm, which will make the encounter more cordial.
- Feel free to record the interaction.
Chances are, the police officer is recording you too. As a general rule, you can record adults in a public place, even without their consent (consider the legal myth that people cannot be recorded in public without their permission to be debunked). Most police officers will have no problem with being recorded so long as you do not frantically reach around the vehicle to find your phone to record or do so obnoxiously and disruptively.
- Be polite.
It is perfectly fine to refuse if the officer asks your permission to search or asks you questions that you want an attorney present for. Be sure to provide your identification, but you do not have to answer questions such as where you are coming from. Refusing searches and questioning is not rude – it is an invocation of your constitutionally protected rights. With that being said, being rude or sarcastic is typically not a good idea because it can lead to escalation of the situation.
If you were pulled over and cited or arrested, contact King Law Offices for experienced attorneys that can help you get the best possible outcome for your case.