What should I do when stopped by police?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Criminal defense |

Few things are as unsettling as the sound of a siren and the flash of blue lights. When the police pull you over, the results can depend on your reaction.

When operating a vehicle, prepare for what you should do if law enforcement stops you.

Pull over in a safe location

When you notice an officer signaling you to pull over, slow down and put on a signal that shows you intend to comply. Find a wide area away from oncoming traffic. Many police die during roadside accidents, so finding a safe spot can put the officer at ease.

Remain calm and visible

Turn the music off and avoid fumbling with items. Stay visible. You may want to turn on the light inside the vehicle when it is dark so the officer can see everything you are doing.

Roll down your window as the officer approaches. If your window does not work, do not open the door. Explain the issue and follow directions on whether to open the door.

Do not reach for things or act suspiciously. Keep your hands on the steering wheel and do not make sudden movements. Tell the officer before reaching for identification. Wait for confirmation that you may retrieve the item. Then return your hands to the steering wheel after handing over the information.

Document the stop

It can be wise to record traffic stops for evidence in case of police misconduct. To avoid raising suspicion, you may be better off having a permanent recording system instead of setting things up at the moment. A voice-activated system can be helpful.

Many of the same principles apply to pedestrians. Remain calm and do not make sudden movements. With forethought, you can avoid unnecessary issues when dealing with the police.