A traffic stop is one of the most frequent encounters between citizens and police. A vehicle stop is made when a police officer believes an offense has occurred. You may feel anxious, irritated, impatient, or concerned about being pulled over, but the officer must enforce vehicle code to ensure the safety of travelers on our roadways. The officer, too, has concerns while approaching a stopped vehicle, for there is always the possibility of threat to their personal safety while performing their law enforcement duties. The following recommended procedures and guidelines will ensure that the traffic stop can be completed quickly and safely.
When signaled by an officer, safely pull over to a place out of traffic flow. Remain calm, and keep your hands visible on the steering wheel. If you have passengers, have them sit quietly with their hands visible as well.
Avoid sudden movements and ducking posture; these actions can unnecessarily cause alarm to the officer. If it becomes necessary for you to move substantially, tell the officer before doing so.
If it is night time, turn on your inside light. For safety reasons, the officer will want to visually scan the car interior before proceeding.
Do not get out of your car unless the officer asks you to do so. If you are asked to step outside the car, comply in a calm and cooperative manner.
If requested, you must give the officer your drivers license and vehicle registration. Tell the officer where it is before reaching for it, especially if it is in the glove box or some other place out of immediate view.
You may ask to see the officer’s identification if you so desire.
If you are issued a citation, you will be asked to sign it. Signing is not an admission of guilt, but rather an acknowledgement that you received the citation. While you may disagree with the issuance of the citation, keep in mind that your guilt or innocence may only be determined in court.