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How to Act When
Stopped By a Law Enforcement Officer

Your attitude and actions when you are stopped may well make the difference between a warning and a ticket. We can agree that most of us would rather have the warning. While there is no guarantee that following these suggestions will get you off with a warning, failure to heed them will increase the probability of a ticket.

RESPECT THE OFFICER AT ALL TIMES. Failure to do so will get you a ticket faster than anything else. Even if he/she is wrong, he/she has the badge, the gun and the citation book.

If possible, HAVE A PLEASANT ATTITUDE. While you might find this difficult, you are going to have to deal with the situation one way or the other. Your attitude can make a big difference for both you and the officer. How that difference is made is your choice.

STOP AS SOON AS IT IS SAFE once you see that the officer is attempting to pull you over. Failure to do so shows disrespect which will not help, and may be very counter-productive.

TURN OFF YOUR ENGINE. This reassures the officer that you do not intend to leave suddenly.

Once stopped, KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE WHEEL, IN PLAIN SIGHT.You should turn off your radio/tape player/CD and lights before putting your hands on the wheel at 10 and 2. Having your hands in plain sight and resting on the wheel is a sign of respect and reassures the officer that he/she is not risking his/her life by approaching your car. You can get your license, registration and proof of insurance out if and when the officer asks for them.

DO NOT VOLUNTEER ANY INFORMATION. Anything you say may be used against you in court. Conversely, listen closely to the officer and note what he/she says; you may be able to use it in your defense in court. OBSERVE the officer's vehicle and uniform. If he/she is not in a marked vehicle and a proper uniform, you have an excellent speed trap defense (CVC 40800).

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