You’re driving down the road and suddenly see blue lights in your rear-view mirror. Your pulse quickens, your hands grip the steering wheel a little tighter, and you feel something that can only be described as “impending doom.” After realizing that the police officer on your tail has no intentions of passing you, you realize that there’s no mistaking it—you’re getting pulled over.
Getting stopped by a police officer when you’re driving is a stressful, frightening, anxiety-inducing, and frustrating experience—especially if you don’t know what you did wrong. It can be hard to keep your composure during a traffic stop, but it’s essential to keep a level head throughout the encounter, as your freedom may depend on it.
Follow These Tips during Traffic Stops
Almost everyone gets pulled over at some point in their lives. But many people don’t know the proper procedure or what the police officers who pull them over expect of them.
Following these steps can help your encounter with a law enforcement officer go as smoothly as possible:
Begin pulling over immediately when you realize you’re being stopped. Pulling over when an officer initiates a traffic stop is a balancing act. He or she wants you to stop your vehicle as soon as possible, but you should also make sure you do so in a safe manner. If you can’t pull over immediately due heavy traffic or other circumstances, turn on your emergency flashing lights to let the officer know you’re aware that you’re being pulled over and are planning to stop.
Pull over on the right side of the road and in a safe location. Make sure there’s plenty of room for your vehicle, the officer’s vehicle, and for him or her to exit the vehicle and approach your window.
Turn off your vehicle’s engine, lower your window, and keep your hands on the wheel.
Wait for the officer to ask for your documents before reaching for them. Never make sudden movements around a police officer—especially if they involve reaching for an item in your glove box or console. Don’t reach for your license, registration, or proof of insurance until he or she asks for them.
Be polite and avoid arguing. Answer the officer’s questions honestly, but don’t admit wrongdoing or volunteer information—especially if you don’t know what you did wrong. Address the officer respectfully and don’t question him or her if you get a citation or ticket. Sign it and remember that you will have an opportunity to fight it in court later.
When the traffic stop ends, be careful when merging back into traffic. Check your mirrors and wait for an opening before accelerating back into the street, highway or interstate.
Traffic Stops Don’t Always Go Smoothly. Nashville’s Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help.
Following the tips above can help you avoid the chance of a bad encounter with a law enforcement officer, but it can’t eliminate it. And bad encounters can sometimes lead to serious criminal charges. If that’s the case for you, don’t wait another minute. Get an experienced Middle Tennessee criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact Eileen Parrish Law today for a consultation!