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How should you act at a routine traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2023 | Blog, Criminal Defense

A routine traffic stop can be a nerve-wracking experience for many individuals. Knowing how to handle yourself during such situations can make the process smoother and less stressful.

Whether it is speeding or another serious violation, here are some steps to keep in mind if you find yourself pulled over by law enforcement.

Stay aware

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 84% of encounters with police in 2018 happened because of a traffic stop. This common occurrence may potentially make you worry when you notice an officer trying to pull you over.

When you notice the police car first approach you, do not panic. Signal your intention to pull over and find an open area to stop, ideally on the right side of the road.

Turn off your engine

As you come to a stop, turn off your vehicle’s engine and place your hands on the steering wheel in plain sight. This action reassures the officer that you have no violent intentions and makes them feel more relaxed about approaching your vehicle.

Sit inside the vehicle

While it might be tempting to exit your vehicle immediately, it is best to stay inside until the officer instructs you otherwise. Leaving your vehicle without direct instructions to do so can leave the police feeling tense or on edge.

Reply respectfully

Remaining respectful and cooperative throughout the encounter can significantly impact how the situation unfolds. Address the officer with the proper titles and answer questions clearly. Avoid arguing or becoming defensive, since this could escalate the situation.

By sticking to these guidelines during a routine traffic stop, you can help create a safer and more respectful environment. Remember, being cooperative can go a long way even if you are dealing with a criminal accusation.

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