How to handle a Traffic Stop.

It’s happened to everyone.  You are comfortably driving down the road when all of the sudden you see the blue lights behind you.  You think for a second they couldn’t be looking for you, but they reality sets in and you begin to pull over.  How you handle yourself in this situation will go a long way in how your case gets handled in court.  Here is a quick list of things you should (and shouldn’t) do when you get stopped by the police:

  1. Pull over to the right as fast as you can.  If you can’t safely pull over immediately, put on your turn signal or hazard lights to acknowledge to the officer that you know he is there.
  2. Do not fidget too much trying to get your license or registration.  Too much movement is going to make the officer think you are hiding something in your car, or worse, reaching for a weapon.  If you can’t easily find it, wait until the officer gets to the car and tell him what you are doing.  A traffic stop is the most dangerous thing an officer does, and they will be on guard.
  3. BE POLITE AND COOPERATIVE.  This can’t be stressed enough.  Every judge is going to ask the officer if you were polite and cooperative, and it may very well be the difference between a favorable and unfavorable disposition in your case.
  4. Do not argue with the officer.  No cases are won on the side of the road.  This is why we have courts and lawyers.
  5. Be polite, but don’t admit to any wrongdoing.  The stories about people talking their way out of a ticket are usually myths.  The officer is going to write you a ticket, so trying to explain your way out of it will only give them good statements to use in court.
  6. Sign the Summons.  Signing the summons is not an admission of guilt, only a promise that you will appear in court.  Not signing the summons gets you a trip to the jail.

Following these simple steps will make the experience more pleasant (at least as pleasant as getting a ticket can be) and will go a long way to a better disposition once you get to court.

If you have received a traffic ticket and you would like legal help, please contact the attorneys at Winslow & McCurry at 804-423-1382 to set up a consultation with one of our lawyers today.