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How should you act when you are pulled over by the police?  Most of us have been pulled over by the police at one time or another.  My belief is that you generally will be treated according to how you act.

The first thing is to keep everyone safe.  In the last few years, we hear about too many stories of violent encounters during traffic stops.  Regardless of what happens when you are pulled over by the police, you want to avoid injury or death.

Pulled Over By The Police

As soon as you recognize that the police are attempting to pull you over, you should take the following steps:

  • Turn on your signal lights to that the officer knows that you are attempting to pull over;
  • Pull off to the side of the road in a safe place, you may need to exit the freeway;
  • Roll down your driver’s side window;
  • Turn your engine off;
  • Stay in your vehicle;
  • If it is dark, turn on your dome light;
  • Have your driver’s license and insurance card available;
  • Place both your hands on the wheel so the officer can see them; and
  • Wait for the officer to approach or to give you instructions.

By taking these steps, you are letting the officer know that they are approaching in a safer environment.  If they can’t see you or what you are doing, they will be at a heightened level of security.

Interaction with The Officer

As the driver, you are required to provide them with your driver’s license.  They will generally also ask for your proof of insurance.  You do not have to provide anything else.

Officers may attempt to ask questions to see if you are acting suspicious.  Do not over explain anything.  Stay polite, but do not volunteer information.  Suspicious people try and over explain things.

You do not have to allow the officer to search your vehicle.  Nor do you have to participate in any type of field sobriety testing.  Do not do either.  When an officer asks to search your vehicle or have you provide testing, you likely will be arrested.

If you are going to be arrested, do not make matters worse.  When you resist arrest or give them a false name, you may receive additional charges.  Don’t make things worse.

Conclusion

Most police officers are just doing their job.  They want to go home at the end of their shift; just like you.  We want you to stay safe.  If you follow the above steps, your encounter will run smoother.