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What to Do During a Traffic Stop?

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Mar 11, 2016 | 0 Comments

cop car with lights on

The first thing to do when you notice a police officer is attempting to pull you over is to try to remain calm. How you respond to the police officer during the first moments of your encounter may have a drastic impact on the outcome of the stop. At your first available opportunity, you should activate your turn signal and pull over into a safe area.

If there is no safe area immediately available, try to find one close by. You will want to have a clear view of conditions around the alleged infraction area which may later provide a defense, and you do not want the officer to think you are trying to evade the stop.

First and foremost, police officers are concerned for their safety during traffic stops. The police do not know what they will encounter in your car, and doing the right things will help the police officer know they are not in danger. Roll down the window. If you are listening to music turn it off. Place your hands on the steering wheel, and illuminate the interior light if it is dark.

It is important that you do not reach for any documentation. You don't want to give the impression that this is a frequent occurrence or give the police a reason to search your car. Any sudden movement, even if you are just reaching for your license, can give police the suspicion that you are hiding contraband or a weapon. Wait until the officer asks for an item before reaching for it. You should also remind passengers to remain quiet and keep both hands in plain view. Get out of your vehicle only if the officer instructs you to and keep your hands visible at all times.

When you are talking with the police, always be polite no matter how the officer treats you. Try to let the officer do most of the talking. Remember to not offer more information than the officer is requesting. For example, if the officer asks you if you knew how fast you were going, it is a yes or no question. Don't elaborate on your speed or make excuses for your actions. Police are trained to get admissions, so the less you say, the less they have to use against you later.

If you believe the officer suspects you are committing another crime, other than a routine traffic offense, it is important to ask for a lawyer as soon as possible. Simple traffic stops can turn into criminal charges with serious consequences if the police believe you or your passengers have committed a crime.

Speak With A NJ Lawyer

Even when you have been cited with minor traffic violation, it can have serious consequences to your driving record and personal life. It is important to know your rights by speaking with an experienced traffic attorney like those at Villani and DeLuca. Call 732-965-3999 today for a FREE consultation

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


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