What To Do During a Traffic Stop

Everyone who has a driver’s license will get stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation at some point.  Even the most careful driver will go a little over the speed limit or fail to come to a complete stop now and then.  For police officers, traffic stops can be dangerous and the people they stop can be unpredictable so they follow specific procedures with every stop to ensure the safety of everyone involved.  By following some simple recommendations, you can get through the traffic stop quickly and smoothly.

  1. Remain calm.  Yelling at the officer will only complicate things.
  2. Stay in your car.  Police officers follow specific procedures with traffic stops for your safety and for their own.  If you jump out of the car, they may assume you’re meaning to do them harm.
  3. Keep your hands on the steering wheel.  If they can’t see your hands, they may think you’re reaching for a weapon and react accordingly.
  4. Follow their instructions.  If you don’t understand, politely ask for clarification.
  5. Remember that you have rights.  The police are not allowed to pull you over for no reason; they must have probable cause.  Probable cause could be that you were committing a traffic violation or a crime, that you have a taillight out or some other problem with the vehicle, or your vehicle fits the description of one used in a crime.

You also have the right to ask whether or not you are free to go or if you are being detained.  If they say you’re free to leave, do so.

If the police ask you if they have your permission to search your vehicle, politely decline.  They can’t search your car without having probable cause. You also can refuse a breathalyzer test but before you do, you may want to be sure that your state doesn’t have an automatic suspension of your driver’s license if you do (some states do).

You can also film the entire traffic stop.  If you’re in a public place, you can take a video of the traffic stop as long as you are not interfering the police’s ability to do their job and they can’t delete or confiscate it.

  1. If you are detained or arrested, don’t resist, even if you feel your arrest is unjust.  Remain calm and continue to cooperate.
  2. If you feel like your rights were violated during the stop, document everything afterward, take photos of any evidence, and talk to a lawyer.

A traffic stop can ruin your day but usually, they only result in a fine and maybe points on your license.  If you’re lucky, the police will merely give you a warning. By being respectful and following instructions, you’ll make the whole process go more smoothly.  

If you’ve been arrested in New Port Richey or the surrounding area, Mercy Bail Bonds can help.  Mercy’s discreet professional team will work to get you out of jail and back home as soon as possible.  Call today at (727) 856-7775. We’re open 24 hours, 7 days a week to help!