Police Officer put their lives on the line everyday and deal with almost every type of situation that you can imagine. They are highly trained and their senses are keen to their surroundings. Most Police Officer’s are professional and will deal with situations honestly and fairly. If you are ever stopped by the Police here are some things you can do help make the experience as pleasant as possible.
As a Police Officer for over 28 years I have stopped countless numbers of people for one reason or another. I know there is nothing more nerve racking than to see a Police car following you and then see the red and blue lights and hear the siren come on.
I also interviewed dozens of my Police colleagues’ and asked them what bothered them about having to deal with someone they stopped, what was annoying, what made them nervous and what guaranteed them to issue a ticket and by pass a warning?
Most people know ‘what to do’ when they are pulled over by the Police so here are some things ‘not to do’:
Do not get out of your car
After you are stopped, do not exit the car. Some folks believe it’s polite to get out of the car and meet the Officer but, for safety concerns, wait until the Officer asks you to step out of your car.
Do not suddenly stop
Once you see that you are being stopped, do not slam on your breaks or come to a sudden stop. You just might cause an accident.
Do not argue
Arguing with the Officer will always get you nowhere. It’s OK to tell the Officer before the ticket is written that you “thought you were doing the speed limit” or “stopped completely for that stop sign” but, if you feel you have been wronged don’t argue there at the scene just save the argument for court.
Do not have an attitude
We know the experience of being stopped by the Police is upsetting because no one likes to get caught. It also means money out of your pocket, we don’t have to pay a fine. Body language, rolling your eyes and smart remarks will only upset and escalating the situation.
Do not gesture your thoughts with your hand or finger
You could argue freedom of speech but simply said gesturing with the finger or hand is inappropriate. It’s immature and will only lead to more anger.
Do not keep driving
Some folks have the attitude that they will stop when they are good and ready. This can cause unnecessary concern for the Officer. The law states that you are required to stop when a Police Officer uses the emergency lights and siren. If you think it’s unsafe to pull over then keep in mind that an Officer will not activate his lights and siren until he sees a safe place to make the stop.
Do not reach
When the Police approach your car keep your hands on the steering wheel. Reaching under the seat, glove box, purse, jacket or rear pocket to get your wallet or information will cause a problem. Let the Officer know beforehand where you will be reaching for your information.
Do not start reaching for anything as you’re being pulled over
The officer will be watching you as you are pulling over and your movements. If you are reaching under your seat, in the glove box or in the rear seat will cause the Officer to be nervous and suspicious.
Do not put your hands in your pockets or jacket
You must understand that the Police are highly trained to protect themselves. The Police do not know who you are, and that you would never harm anyone let alone an Officer. So, if you put your hands in your pocket do not be surprised if the Officer asks you to keep your hands where they can see them.
Do not make any sudden movements
Again, to a highly trained Officer making a sudden movement can heighten stress levels and create problems.
Do not ask why you are being stopped
The officer will greet you and then ask for your driver’s license, registration and insurance and then explain professionally why you are being stopped. Most people already know why they are being stopped so to ask right away usually has an uneasy feeling and tone behind it.
Do not allow your passenger to talk or question the officer
This is almost a sure way to get a ticket. You and the Officer only should be conducting business and besides, it’s your driving record that is on the line here. If your passenger is so concerned perhaps your passenger should have told you to slow down. If you feel you are in the right you can bring your passenger to court as your witness and let the passenger talk there.
Do not lie
Lying is a sure way to get you in a lot of trouble. Honesty is the best policy in this situation and could grant you honorable warning and not a ticket.
Do not yell and swear
This goes along with arguing. Yelling and swearing at an Officer will surely award you with a citation and maybe even a trip to jail.
Do not refuse to sign the ticket
By law you have to sign a ticket or get taken to jail and be brought before a magistrate. By signing the ticket you are not admitting guilt just promising to appear in court. So, if you disagree with the ticket than court is the place to dispute it.
Do not run
Many times we hear the excuse, “I ran from the Police because I was scared”. Well, anyone would agree that you ran from the Police because you are guilty.
Do not rip the ticket up and throw it on the ground
Receiving a ticket for a violation is maddening to say the least. However, venting your frustrations by ripping up the ticket and throwing it on the ground will only get a second ticket for littering.
Do not screech your tires as you drive off
When the Officer finishes and begins to walk back to the car do not screech your tires and tear out of there showing how angry you are. Again, this may create a second stop and a second ticket for a number of other traffic violations.
Do not yell rude comments as you drive off
Although amusing to the Officer, lowering yourself to the level of yelling rude comments as you drive away demonstrates your lack of respect for the traffic laws and other people out on the roadway. So, now we know why you were stopped and cited.
Do not bribe an Officer
I don’t need to say a lot about this but bribing an Officer is a serious crime and will land you in jail for a long time.
Do not use your cell phone during the traffic stop
We should all know by now that cell phone usage can be very disruptive in certain settings. Being on your cell phone during a traffic stop is one of those settings and demonstrates an attitude that you do not care. If you do not care that you get a ticket than most certainly you will.
Drive safely, be careful and let’s hope you never have to use these methods.