Getting Pulled Over

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If You Are Pulled Over
Getting pulled over by a police officer can be intimidating, frustrating, and even dangerous for the motorist and the police officer. However, remembering some simple steps will help make your traffic stop as safe and as pleasant as possible.

If you comply with the rationale behind an officer's actions by following these steps, a traffic stop can be a pleasant experience!

Respond & Pull Over

The law states that when a police or fire vehicle using emergency lights and/or sirens approaches, drivers must pull over immediately to the right curb and stop. Respond to the red and blue lights and signal your intentions to let the officer and other motorists know what you plan to do. If the roadway is clear and the officer doesn't pass you, assume that your vehicle is the one being pulled over. Once you’ve stopped, roll down your window so that you may hear any verbal directions from the officer instructing you to move to another location he or she deems safer.

Be aware that the violation may have occurred 1 or 2 miles before the traffic stop. This delay is due to the fact that most departments have developed strict procedures for officers to follow to ensure your safety and theirs. They are required to give the location, vehicle and occupant description, and license plate to the dispatcher. The officer is also trying to locate the safest place to initiate the stop.

Stay In the Vehicle

Remain in the vehicle unless the officer instructs otherwise. That is safest for you and the officer. Distracted motorists have been known to leave the roadway and strike vehicles or individuals at a traffic stop, causing injury or even death.

Listen & Comply
Listen to the officer and comply with instructions. Drivers often assume they are being stopped for a routine traffic matter, but the officer may be stopping you because your vehicle is similar to one just seen leaving the scene of a crime. Additionally, many people have warrants out for their arrest, are mentally unbalanced, or simply don't like police officers. Many officers have experienced verbal and physical confrontations as a result of traffic stops. Consequently, the officer may initially be acting under the assumption that you are a safety threat. Control over the situation can be accomplished by keeping yourself and your passengers in the vehicle with your hands visible.

Only Let Passengers Speak When Spoken To
Generally, the officer will need to converse with only the driver. Have your passengers remain in their seats and quiet unless the officer addresses them directly.

In Case of a Citation

If it's a case of mistaken identity, you'll be on your way as soon as it's cleared up. If it's a traffic stop, the officer will request your driver's license, registration and insurance card. The officer may allow you to explain your actions; if so, you should speak calmly. If the officer saw you commit the violation, your statement may not be necessary.

Complaints & Concerns
If your complaint is about the validity of the citation, then it must be handled through the courts. If the contact was unprofessional, complain to the Police Department. Police departments have procedures for lodging complaints against officers. Departments want to know if there's a problem with an officer. Please click here and follow the directions on this page to notify us of the problem