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What You Should and Should Not Do If You’re Pulled Over By the Police

There are several things you should and should not do if you're pulled over by the police. One thing you should not do is panic.

Posted 3 years ago by Jim Titus


Getting pulled over by the police most likely stirs up a slur of different emotions among people. Anger, fear, and even anxiety are likely. It’s also not unusual to be a little embarrassed – after all, the other drivers are probably judging you when they see those flashing lights. How should you act when there’s a police officer approaching your vehicle? Here’s a list of what you should and should not do if you’re pulled over by the police.

1. Should turn on your hazards. Let the officer know that you see him or her behind you and that you’re pulling over as soon as possible.

2. Should find a safe area to stop. The best place to pull over is into a parking lot if possible. If not, find a safe spot on the right side of the road. Not only will this keep the officer safe, it will avoid a car hitting you from behind as well.

3. Should slow down. When you’re finding a place stop, drive a little slower. Don’t speed up in an effort to get it over with. The officer might think you’re trying to flee the scene.

4. Should keep your hands on the steering wheel and stay still. Don’t move around searching for your driver’s license or anything else in the car. The officer might think you’re looking for a weapon or that you’re trying to hide something. Wait for the officer to ask for your documents.

There are several things you should and should not do if you're pulled over by the police. You should inform an officer if you have a carrying concealed weapon license, safely pull over in a parking lot or the side of the road, and calm down before getting back on the road after getting a traffic ticket.

5. Should not get out of the car. When you’ve found a place to stop, stay in your vehicle. If you jump out, the officer might think you’re being aggressive or that you’re trying to hide or throw away something.

6. Should not leave the engine running. Turn off the vehicle, roll down your window, and turn on your interior lights if it’s dark.

7. Should not panic. It’s easy to freak out when you’re getting pulled over. But unless you’re wanted or in some serious trouble, the worst that can happen to you during a routine traffic stop is that you’ll receive a traffic ticket. Your car insurance may go up in price as well.

8. Should not admit any wrongdoing if you plan to fight the ticket. Admitting wrong could be held against you later in court. If the officer asks questions, politely answer him or her but keep your answers short. Don’t apologize either, although this might help get you out of the ticket depending on the officer.

9. Should let the officer know you’re carrying a gun. In Michigan, people with a license to carry a concealed pistol must tell the officer immediately that they are in possession of the weapon.

10. Should be polite and respectful. Remember, the officer is only doing his or her job. If you yell, call him or her names, or act in a rude manner, you’re going to get a ticket. Don’t argue with the officer either. If you want to contest the ticket, do it in a courtroom.

11. Should sign the citation. This is not an admission of guilt. This means you will pay the fine or show up in court to contest the ticket.

12. Should safely merge back into traffic. If you’ve received a ticket you may be emotional. If you’re upset, take a few moments to calm down before getting back on the road.

Police officers are doing their job to keep our busy Michigan roads safe. Do your job as motorists by obeying traffic laws. If you do have a run-in with the law and are in need of a bail bondsman, we are here to help.

(This blog is for general informational purposes only and does not cover every possible scenario or situation. This blog should not be considered as legal advice. Consult with an attorney for more specifics.)

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