First, always pull to the right hand lane or shoulder, even if you must work across several lanes of traffic. Just because a police officer is lighting you up does not mean that they are pulling you over. Give them every chance to pass you by. If they follow you, then you will know. Second, failing to move to the right on the approach of an emergency vehicle (Police, Fire, Ambulance, etc…) can net you a fine of $1062

Once you have stopped your vehicle, do nothing. Do not release your seat belt until the officer has come up to the window and seen that you were wearing it. We have had many clients who have received a No Seat Belt ticket in addition to their other violation because the officer did not see that they had their seat belt on.

Do not reach into your glove box or center console, dig in your purse or bag, or for your wallet before the officer comes to your window. Remember that the officer does not know you or if you are a tweaker on meth or just someone on their way to the store for milk.

The best thing to do is to roll down your window and sit quietly with your hands on top of the steering wheel until the officer has had time to come to your window and assess you. If they ask for your drivers license, registration or insurance paperwork, tell them where you are reaching to before you do so.

The number one rule is to be polite and cooperative. Keep in mind that the officer is just doing their job and that this is not personal. The officer does have a legal right to pull you over if they believe that you have committed a violation. Being argumentative or condescending is not going to benefit you; in fact possibly quite the contrary

Be polite and non-argumentative even if you disagree with the officer’s stated reasons for the stop, or feel that it may be personal. You are not going to win your case sitting by the side of the road. If you are polite and non-confrontational, an officer may decide to reduce the amount over the speed limit that they charge you with, reducing your fine and any potential insurance impact, or may decide to warn you instead of cite you for other violations. For example, a tail light being out, expired vehicle tabs, or an unsigned registration. Do not ask them to do this, or try and talk your way out of a ticket as you are more likely to make admissions that can later be used against you. Law Enforcement is under pressure to increase the number tickets they issue; if an officer has pulled you over, assume from the beginning that you are going to get a ticket. Just do not give them reason to pile on any additional violations that they might otherwise choose to overlook.

Which does not mean that the officer is your friend. Anything that you say to the officer that can be used against you will find its way into the report that will be submitted to the judge. You do have the right not to answer their questions, within reason. A polite and non-committal “not sure” is sufficient. If you are asked if you know why they stopped you, any answer other than “No” may be construed as an admission to a knowing violation. Admissions as to what your speed was or the posted speed limit will be used against you if your admitted speed is higher than the posted limit, or you are mistaken about what that limit is. Never say anything about being in a hurry, or late for something, or tired. If you have been in an auto accident, do not try and explain what happened, as admissions will be used against you. Barring cases involving a death or major injury, accidents are usually very quickly investigated.

An officer may also have pulled you over for reasons incidental to a traffic violation; for example, to determine if you are driving under the influence. If the officer determines that they cannot cite you for a criminal violation, then you want them to cite you for your infraction if any and let you go, if that is what they are going to do. If you wish to know more you need to consult with an attorney who practices DUI law.

Do not tell the officer that you are acting under the advice of an attorney. Do not tell them “My attorney will get this thrown out.” First because these statements will also find their way into the officer’s report submitted to the judge with the inference that they are admissions. Second: why tell the officer in advance that you intend on having someone who is an expert at finding any errors or omissions by the officer review their work?