What to Do When Stopped by Police?
Know Your Responsibilities and Rights
Remember, all drivers must yield the right-of-way to police and other emergency vehicles. If a police officer is pulling you over, move your vehicle as far to the right as possible and stop. If it is not safe to stop on the roadway, pull off of the roadway into a parking lot.
About unmarked police cars: If you are unsure the person pulling you over is a real police officer? Read more.
If you are stopped by a police officer, you may feel confused, anxious, or even angry. These are natural feelings, but remember, traffic stops can also be stressful and dangerous for police officers. Quite often a second police officer may also assist with a traffic stop; this is for the protection of the officers, not because you are a "criminal."
With this in mind, there are things that you, as a law-abiding citizen, can do to help lessen the uneasiness of the experience. When stopped by a police officer, remember:
- Police Officers are trained to ask for identification. Providing your documentation will simplify and speed up the process.
- Remain in your vehicle unless the officer advises otherwise.
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel so the officer can see them.
- If the stop occurs during darkness, please turn on your dome light so that the officer can see that all is in order.
- Avoid any sudden movements, especially toward the floorboard, rear seat or passenger side of the vehicle.
- Bright spotlights are used for the safety of all persons involved. They are not meant to intimidate or embarrass you.
- Comply with the officer’s request to see your driver's license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. Most state Motor Vehicle Codes require you to display these items at the request of a police officer.
- If your documents are out of reach, tell the officer where they are before you reach for them.
- The officer may issue a ticket. If you feel the reason is unclear, ask for details.
- If you do not agree with the citation, please do not argue at the scene. You have a right to contest the citation in court.
· Traffic stops are a very important law enforcement function, which maintains safety throughout our community.
Please understand that each situation is unique and that a police officer must alter his or her response to fit the circumstance. Generally, however, a police officer will:
· Provide his/her name and badge number upon request.
· Inform the driver of the vehicle of the reason for being stopped.
If you are pulled over by an unmarked car or a police officer in plain clothes, or have any other suspicion that the person pulling you over is not a police officer there are a few actions you can take. You can ask for photo identification, ask them to call their supervisor or even have them follow you to the nearest police station. The officer is trained to understand these situations and will not be irritated. Never attempt to flee as some police officers are trained to pursue someone who flees. If you are in fear for your safety, you should drive slowly, turn on your hazard lights and drive to the nearest well-lighted, populated location.