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How do I Handle a Police Traffic Stop?

Michael Pollick
Updated Jan 30, 2024
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The first thing you should typically do when an officer signals a traffic stop is to acknowledge the command promptly. Signal that you are going to pull over and do so as soon as you can safely manage it. A police officer will typically ask for identification and other information, so you should have this ready. Answer any questions honestly and be respectful, and ask any questions you may have based on what the police officer tells you. There may be other procedures unique to your location, so it's a good idea to learn about your local laws.

Your Initial Response

When you see the lights or hear a siren, slow down and activate your turn signal as soon as possible, even if you cannot pull off the road right away. This lets the officer know that you intend to cooperate and stop. As soon as it becomes safe to do so, pull off the road as far as possible or pull into the nearest driveway or parking lot. This demonstrates a concern for the officer's safety. You should turn off your vehicle, but you can leave the keys in the ignition.

Once You Have Stopped

After you have stopped your vehicle, remain inside and wait for the officer to approach you. Any sudden movement of the door or people in the car can make an officer uneasy, so tell passengers to also remain seated. Once the officer has reached the driver's window, be prepared to present all requested documents; this usually includes a driver's license, proof of insurance card, and the car's registration. If you must reach into a glove compartment or console panel to get these documents, tell the officer what you are doing. Otherwise, place your hands on the steering wheel.

During a traffic stop, a police officer may ask you some questions. One common question is "Do you know why I pulled you over?" Some legal professionals suggest a driver should not answer this question in too much detail. Your answer could be interpreted as an acknowledgement of guilt in a later court proceeding, so do not volunteer incriminating information during the traffic stop.

It is important to remain honest, however, when answering the police officer's questions. You should answer simple questions like "Where are you headed?" or "Is this your current address?" truthfully. Keep your answers simple and to the point. You can choose to contest a ticket later without raising issues about unfairness during a traffic stop.

Processing Your Information

Once a police officer has collected all the pertinent information from you, he or she is likely to return to the police car, and there may be a substantial delay until he or she returns. The officer has a protocol to follow during a traffic stop, which includes a search for outstanding warrants and verification of your identity. These procedures can be time-consuming.

If the police officer decides to issue a warning, be sure to thank him or her and promise to be more careful in the future. On the other hand, if the officer issues you a citation, then listen carefully to what he or she says and ask questions if needed. In most cases, the citation should include a court date, along with a means of waiving the court appearance and paying the fine directly. Be sure to sign the ticket when asked to do so, as this is only an acknowledgement that you have received it and refusal to sign can result in additional citations or even arrest.

Keep in mind that, in many places, a police officer can always add charges to a ticket, so remain calm while receiving the citation. If you become overly emotional or insult or threaten the officer in any way, you may be charged or arrested. Many police vehicles include cameras that record traffic stops, so bad behavior could be documented on video for use against you in court.

Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

An officer typically does not have the right to search your vehicle unless you consent to it or there is something visible that creates "probable cause" for a search. Refusing a search, however, is a punishable act in some jurisdictions, so be careful about anything that might be considered obstruction of police duties. You are usually within your rights to ask to see the officer's badge and bond or business card. This is especially important if you feel the stop is unwarranted or you are suspicious about the officer's legitimacy.

Differences by Region

Many of these procedures are effective throughout the US, but the police may require other information or ask different questions elsewhere. In most cases, it is best to remain calm and polite, and follow the officer's instructions. To learn more about the traffic laws in your area, including what police are allowed and not allowed to do during a traffic stop, contact your local law enforcement agency, traffic police, department of motor vehicles, or licensing agency.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WikiMotors, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Discussion Comments

By anon357667 — On Dec 05, 2013

My husband was pulled over because, due to heavy traffic, he could not get over to allow the state trooper onto the expressway (no, the trooper's lights were not on).

Last I knew, the person entering onto and expressway is the one that needs to yield. The trooper was extremely rude to him, arrogant, threw his authority all over the place and scared the crap out of husband who was not speeding. He also searched my husband and thoroughly searched our car, trunk, glove box, console, under the seats -- I mean thoroughly. (This was Ohio).

When the officer was done, he threw the stuff from my husband's pocket down on the side of the pavement (license, wallet, insurance card, pocket knife, and chewing gum) and said, "Get the hell down the road!" He acted even madder that he couldn't find anything to arrest him on or write a ticket on.

There was no excuse for that trooper to behave the way that he did with a 59 year old man who fully cooperated in the stop.

By anon356520 — On Nov 25, 2013

This article is all fine and good if you live in Brady bunch land, or some other fake reality, but doing all the above won't save you with a bored/corrupt cop.

I have yet to meet one polite cop in this whole crappy state of Ohio, It's gotten so bad, I will never do anything to support them. Cops in Ohio are rude and extremely arrogant, No wonder nobody wants to help them when they go door to door during investigations, The way I've been treated in the past, I doubt I would even pee on a cop on fire.

By anon353186 — On Oct 28, 2013

I just wanted to let the individuals who ask, "Why don't you go catch a real criminal?" or "Don't you have anything better to do?" when they are pulled over for a traffic violation know the officer is likely looking for the real criminals by making traffic stops.

An individual who is willing to break "major" laws is unlikely to be concerned with adhering to traffic regulations (i.e. speed limit, signal use, stop signs/lights, etc.). The fact is that because you are violating a minor traffic law, even if you're not a criminal, you're going to be on the officer's radar.

Do yourself and the officer a favor and obey the traffic laws if you're not a "real criminal". This way, the officer doesn't have to filter through the ordinary law-abiding citizens to catch the ones he's really after -- the ones we really do want off our streets.

By anon350867 — On Oct 09, 2013

Is it correct that if the officer stops more people and gives more tickets he gets a bonus? I heard that many times.

By anon346018 — On Aug 24, 2013

If people weren't speeding, or doing some other moving or non moving violation of their state's vehicle and traffic law, they wouldn't be stopped. A police officer can ask almost anything they need to know! They can also put you in handcuffs/the back of their patrol car for their safety.

By anon333450 — On May 05, 2013

'You should answer simple questions like "Where are you headed?"'

There is no need to answer this question.

By anon330990 — On Apr 19, 2013

I was driving home on from work at the posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour. The traffic lane on my right hand side was moving slowly due to a stopped bus in that lane. An impatient minivan driver behind the bus pulled into my lane, without signaling and (my assumption) without using his side mirrors. This action required me to slam on my brakes to barely avoid the minivan. I admit that I honked my horn at the minivan driver. The minivan raced away and I observed the vehicle further down the road changing lanes repeatedly, while I intentionally kept my distance.

A couple of minutes after the incident, I came upon a red light and the minivan was ahead of me. We both turned left at the light since that was my normal route home. Again, I kept my distance from the other driver. At the next intersection, which was controlled by a stop sign, the other driver would not proceed through the stop sign, despite no traffic. I drove around the other vehicle so that I could enter my driveway, which was 50 yards from the stop sign.

Here is the interesting part. About an hour and a half later, two police officers knocked on my door to "inquire" about an incident. The "victim" apparently called 911 to report a driver was following her home. We happen to live on the same block in my neighborhood. The police officers already had the full story and apparently did not need to ask me any questions.

One officer asked questions, while the other officer took notes. The questions the police officer asked were all based on a presumption of my guilt. Every question was formulated so that regardless of my answer, I was guilty. I would be asked a question and the officer would provide me two answers, to compel me to admit my guilt. I’d say the officer questioning me was unable to separate his emotions from the investigation, given the level of contempt in his voice. Nonetheless, I’m sure the second officer would disagree with that assessment. I decided to keep my answers brief by only responding “Yes Sir” and “No Sir”. At the end of the interrogation, the officer put his face almost nose to nose with me and kept yelling, “Is it over? Is it over? It is over?” to which I responded “Yes sir.”

Apparently now, I’m considered a road raging driver and there is nothing I can do to expunge this “incident” which did not happen. I’m so deeply disappointed to have lost my respect for police officers. Over the last year I’ve kept my eyes open for this lady and we must leave work around the same time. I have seen her driving on a couple occasions and I believe she is an impatient driver, who is going to kill someone in an accident one day. I have no doubt she will claim to be a victim of circumstance. I wish whoever this lady injures in the future will not suffer and will hopefully die a quick death. Be safe on the roads.

By anon328976 — On Apr 07, 2013

My brother had a gun pulled on him by a group of four men. My brother was in his car. The men proceeded to get into their cars and chase my brother when he got away. They continued to chase my brother for twenty minutes. My brother finally was able to call the police station and they said for him to get to the police station as quick as possible.

After being cornered by these men at least eight times throughout the whole incident, he finally got to the police station about ten minutes later after making the call. My brother had his girlfriend, and her older brother in the vehicle. When they arrived at the police station, they let the four men explain their story all together, and treated my brother and his girlfriend and her brother as the criminals and split them up. He was called a liar even though best buy had evidence and explained that they did see it happen. All three of them also had the same story when split up, but the police officer continued to say that my brother was just lying.

My brother is only 16 and was just trying to enjoy a day at the mall with his girlfriend and friend. Anyhow, long story short, brother had a gun pulled on him, multiple times, four men got away with the gun, and my brother is scared, still. The cops called him a liar, and these men are on the streets somewhere. I feel that if they were willing to follow my brother for 30 minutes, then they are willing to look for him again. I don't want anything to happen to him so if anyone could give me any information of what I could do, I would appreciate it greatly.

I will check on later to see if any other comments are posted on what we could do in this situation. Thank you!

By anon265430 — On May 01, 2012

What a bunch of cry babies. Grow up already and act like an adult. If your mommies didn't teach you manners and how to deal with rude people, then you should slap her!

If you can't take a little tail chewing when you get caught red handed, then you should get a ticket for being stupid! If you can't pay the fine then, obey the rules. Cops are people just like everyone else and don't start whining about profiling when you are doing everything you possibly can to profile yourself. What a bunch of whiners bragging about how you know your rights and the law when it's obvious you couldn't even make your little minds and bodies obey the traffic laws, which are the simplest laws in the country as evidenced by the fact that so many people have licenses!

By anon256694 — On Mar 22, 2012

Every future police officer at age 18: "Let's see, I barely graduated high school; I'm definitely not going to college; so I can either join the army or become a cop. Yeah, cool. I'll just go to the police academy for a few months and come out an arrogant, pompous jerk with the power to make any honest citizen do whatever I please."

I once had one of these highly trained geniuses point a radar gun at me while he was still driving toward me. He then pulled me over for “speeding”, citing a ridiculously high speed. When I pointed out to him that what he measured was our combined closing speed (because he and I were driving toward each other), he gave me a blank stare and then said, “Watch your speed”, and quickly walked back to his vehicle and drove away.

By anon255677 — On Mar 18, 2012

The police in our country, especially in my state in which I live, the state of New Jersey, can be brutal sometimes. At the end of the month, it definitely gets worse. The police are waiting at many of corners or side streets for someone to speed. They then give the speeders a ticket and sometimes give them a court date. This forces the person to spend additional money.

The police need to spend more time keeping our communities safe, rather than a bunch of police officers waiting at every side street for a person to go a little above the speed limit.

By anon250042 — On Feb 24, 2012

These stories make feel relieved I live in Britain. I thought our police were bad, but really what a display of unnecessary arrogance and hostility from public servants.

I have a theory. Policemen are so used to dealing with criminals that when they come into contact with law-abiding persons, they are unable to cope. Or perhaps they just like being rude and threatening and being offensive to a law-abiding person is less risky?

By anon247045 — On Feb 12, 2012

Will a police officer arrest me if I am out of status and have my Russian drivers license and an international drivers license? Or will he ask me about my immigration status? I have no crime records.

By anon246303 — On Feb 08, 2012

First, if you refuse to sign a citation, you could be subject to arrest (at least in Ohio). They taught me that in driver's education 25 years ago.

Second, if you get arrested for not signing your citation, are the police supposed to leave your car on the side of the road? No. It's going to be towed and an inventory, not a search, is going to be completed. Third, racial profiling. I challenge any one of you to drive down a road at 55 mph and try to determine the ethnicity of the approaching motorists. Stop blaming the police for "ruining your life" since you are too dumb to obey traffic control signs.

Also, remember that it is 2012 and most law enforcement agencies have some type of audio/visual recording devices recording the entire process. Do you really think a cop is going to be arbitrarily mean and rude when he knows he is being recorded? And stop using the famous phrase, "Don't you guys have anything better do to?" No, they don't. Traffic enforcement is a big part of the uniformed police profession. You probably won't find detectives running traffic in plain clothes. It's common sense, something which the majority of the general population is lacking.

Just be honest and courteous when being pulled over. You get more flies with honey. And telling a cop you are taking him to court is usually a good thing. Remember: court time equals overtime. It benefits the cop twice, since your actions and demeanor were also most likely caught on tape for the court to observe.

By anon240218 — On Jan 13, 2012

Say nothing to any of their questions. Kindly request they identify themselves by showing you a photo I.D. and bond card to match to the badge. Keep the bond card -- it's your right! Do this before providing the requested paperwork.

Confirm nothing they ask. Merely say "all due respect but I have the right not to incriminate myself in any way. Please respect that as your constitutional oath obligates you to." They won't like it but they must do what? Obey you.

These are servants and they need to be knocked off their high horses. If you choose not to sign, be aware they are not arresting you and no statute state or otherwise allows them to two your car. The car is towed under department policy, just as Burger King has a hand washing policy. They fear reprimand so they lie and be assured, the owner of the impound lots are always brothers, cousins, uncles etc of a judge, sergeant etc.

If they tow your vehicle, inform them of this and that you will pursue the officer, tow truck driver and two truck company in civil court for grand theft auto, and that if you attain a conviction, you will then petition the county's grand jury to indict them for grand theft auto!

That's right kids, the prosecutor will refuse but you can still show them who is the superior in command.

Because they are merely obeying an employer, they have a contract that creates corporate obligations and liabilities that they will rake you over the coals and violate your rights to avoid violating! They do not care about you and the fact remains, they are obeying their employer and insubordinate to their superior, who is you, an American domicile member of the Republic.

Bottom line is they are building a case against you from the second they pull you over and you must build a defense from that point as well. We are indeed in charge, but you can't operate an incredibly advanced piece of technology if you have never been shown how.

Government is the most advanced technology on this earth folks.

By anon237003 — On Dec 27, 2011

"The officer can position *their* vehicle." Let's face it, feminist, there still are not that many female police officers.

By anon234732 — On Dec 13, 2011

@Amypollick: Thank you for your very useful advice. Everything you said was spot on. Hopefully if more people speak up when they are treated wrongly it will help prevent this happening in future.

I totally agree with you they have a difficult job and one that I too, would not like to do, but at the end of the day it is a job, and they are getting paid to do their job in a professional manner. For a role like this you need to have a certain amount of people skills. If certain (traffic officers) are struggling to deal with certain situations maybe they're in the wrong profession. Thanks again.

By amypollick — On Dec 09, 2011

@nkm: If you know what town they were from, call the police department in that town and ask to speak to the traffic division chief/commander. Explain that you were confused by the officer's signals and that you were trying to do the right thing, but you felt his conduct was unprofessional and unnecessarily aggressive, given that this was a traffic check, not an accident or crime scene.

But let me caution you to be *very* nice. Police officers absolutely do not like it when they think citizens are attacking their colleagues. However, if you keep your cool and stress that you felt the officer wanted to do his job, and you wanted to be a good, responsible driver, but you were confused, you'll get a lot farther. If the traffic commander doesn't want to listen, then call the Chief of Police.

I respect police officers. They do a job I wouldn't do. However, they also need to remember they should maintain a professional, courteous attitude whenever it is possible to do so. Like any other profession, police work has people who are just jerks, but I work for a newspaper and deal with law enforcement on a regular basis, and 99 percent of the time, respect begets respect.

By nkm — On Dec 09, 2011

I would like to know, is there a way of complaining about certain traffic policeman's attitude. I had an incident today where a traffic policeman was catching drivers coming around a corner on a speed gun, and they were catching drivers who were speeding and pulling them over.

I was approaching these men at what I thought was the speed limit, but one of policemen as I was a fair distance away, pointed at me with one finger and signaled me with his arm to pull over (or so I thought). I immediately put my indicator on and signaled to the right as this was a two lane highway and I was in the first lane (left lane), I could actually pull over as there was a car next to me.

I slowed down, but then the traffic policeman starts yelling and waving his arms around he then stands in the middle of the road doing the same thing, with both my windows up, I could hear "Wrong lane, wrong lane! (still not sure what he is yelling about)" He was yelling and so angry and making such a fuss, and the aggression of this man was really unprofessional.

It was a Saturday morning so there were a few cars on the road, and neither I nor the other drivers had a clue what the traffic policeman was doing with his arm signals. Then, he starts calling me forward because I had not been pulled over -- it was the car next to me. But his signals were so confusing that no one but him knew what was going on.

I had not been pulled over, however I still felt as though I was in the wrong due to this policeman's behavior. I feel that just because they're policemen (traffic policemen) doesn't mean that they are above the law and can treat us in a disrespectful way. What can I do, if anything?

By anon232384 — On Nov 30, 2011

I was pulled over on the highway today. When he got behind me, I crossed four lanes of traffic, then on the shoulder was construction and after the construction was an exit. So with my right signal on I took the exit away from the fast traffic and into a safer place.

The cop pulled me out of the car and put my hands behind my back. He asked if I was hiding weapons or drugs. Then he gave me a ticket for speeding (70/55 which I expected), but then he gave me a ticket for a misdemeanor for not obeying his signals. I thought I had the right to pull over to a safe place? Do I not have the right to take the next exit to safety?

By anon229143 — On Nov 12, 2011

I would like to know if a traffic stop was conducted properly. I allegedly came to a rolling stop at a flashing red light, proceeded through the intersection, and after I had gone through, I saw a vehicle whip around the corner, and then saw the lights and sirens come on. Should the officer have turned the lights and sirens on before proceeding through the intersection? In my mind, since he did not, he is just as guilty of the same offense he ticketed me for during the traffic stop.

By anon226043 — On Oct 29, 2011

I was pulled over for speeding. I had recently entered the highway where the speed limit used to be 70 and had apparently been changed to 60. I did not see signs for this change, but accepted getting pulled over because I was speeding. I have never had an offense before. The policeman began questioning me. He started with normal things such as where are you going, is the address on my license and registration correct etc., but then started asking if I had a job, who pays my bills, what my parents do for a living, what profession my mother is retired from, what school do I go to, do I commute there daily, how much longer do I have left until graduation, what am I doing when I graduate, and how much I weigh.

I have never been pulled over before, but this questioning seems a little too personal for a speeding ticket in the early evening. I politely answered all of his questions anyway, but I want to know if this is OK. Why would he need to know my personal and family information?

By anon211049 — On Sep 01, 2011

I got the traffic ticket in ohio for driving 65 (the limit was 55). I never had a ticket in my life so was hoping for warning but the cop was rude and arrogant. The thing that bothered me is that he was asking about my ethnicity. I am born and raised here and am as American as he is. It is a shame.

By anon202030 — On Aug 01, 2011

I was pulled over for speeding. I honestly thought I was doing the limit but the grade (14 percent) I was going down is really really steep and I might have gone over the limit for a second or two. Why I felt nervous I don't know.

I gave the officer my license, registration and proof of insurance. Then he started asking me where I was going, where do I work. That's when I became more concerned. I answered, but what is the limit to what they can ask you? That was none of his business. I felt like a criminal. I wanted to argue back, but held my tongue. When he told me to sign here or here if I wanted to contest the ticket. I told him that I did. And I will and I will pay the fine but probably will ask to make installments.

My record is clean. I've never been arrested. I've been ticketed every now and then, but it's always when I'm inattentive--like going downhill. My guess is that these tickets are a revenue-generating scam by cities to collect money. If they are serious about crime, they should put these guys in places where they can do the most good.

By anon180387 — On May 26, 2011

I was pulled over today and the cop was nothing but rude! I am 17 and this was my first pull over ever!

When he came up behind me I turned on my flashers and headed over to the right lane and was going to get off the highway and get to a side street. I was taught to do that.

When I got to the light at the end of the off ramp he got out of his car and came to my window and started to yell at me for not pulling over immediately. I was freaking out at that point. I didn't say anything. He didn't ask me why he pulled me over but took my license, but didn't take my registration or insurance. Then he went back to his car (unmarked, by the way) and got his book and wrote the ticket. He didn't look me up or anything. And I got a ticket for going 81 in a 65. I was actually going 76. But I thought that he was really rude and am considering contesting the ticket as he didn't do anything right.

By anon158116 — On Mar 05, 2011

This article assumes the officer is a female officer. Well, I don't argue with female officers. She could be my mother, my sister or even my girlfriend. I would hate that a male driver does anything bad to her or disrespects her.

But something entirely different is a male officer. I do not submit to him and do not play overly nice, although I will always respect him as I respect the cleaning guy at my apartment building. No more nor less. I would certainly want him to go home at night and enjoy his civil life with his wife and children.

But if I perceive any sign of arrogance or impoliteness at the time of the traffic stop, now I have a very serious problem, and will make it sure the man will pay for it and make sure I get away with it.

Maybe not at the moment of the traffic stop, but I will devote the rest of my life to hunt down the little mouse and make him get down on his knees and ask for mercy.

I think it is unfair to have this asymmetric relation where the officer has the power and can talk you down and you have to comply like a child or school pupil. Respect goes both ways.

So, my advice, if the guy plays nice, go with it. If the guy gets nasty, remember his face, his name in his badge, search for him on the internet, learn his routine, do not rush, and one day you approach him in a dark street, late at night, at the end of his turn, and shout "peekaboo". I would love to see his face and get it on my camera and upload it on the internet.

By anon121870 — On Oct 25, 2010

I got pulled over today for no apparent reason. He obviously just wanted to see inside the vehicle, so he can up and asked for my papers and id (as well as my three friends). He went and ran our names, and came back with good news. We were good to go, but he never mentioned why he pulled me over. This all goes to show cops are pathetic and try to ruin people's days based on prejudice. How sad the law has become, honestly.

By anon109523 — On Sep 08, 2010

i was written a citation for not having the proper registration. i have this envelope in my glove box that contains all my truck information. i couldn't find the registration because i was looking for a yellow form (which is what the registration comes on) but i couldn't find it. when i got home i went to looking for it. come to find out i had it all along, they no longer came on yellow forms but on white ones now.

so, i went to court and told them the story about how i had the registration the whole time but was looking for a yellow form instead. and guess what, they made me pay the fine.

By anon100555 — On Jul 30, 2010

I was pulled over for speeding. The Police officer stated he had to go 55 to catch up to me. Cited for me 50 in a 35. Is this valid, when in fact, he came up behind me at a red light, where i was already stopped? Then he turned on his lights after i crossed the intersection to pull me over. Between the red light and previous stop distance measures less than seven-tenths of a mile. Please advise.

By anon95737 — On Jul 13, 2010

My boyfriend was pulled over going 50 in a 30 where the speed limits drops quickly. During deceleration a cop pulled us over.

We had all documentation ready and were polite and courteous. Yet he frisked my boyfriend and searched my car for no apparent reason at all.

He found nothing, of course, and gave him a warning. I am freaked out by the whole situation.

I was under the assumption that you have to have probable cause to do something like that to us. My boyfriend is african american and I'm mixed. i wonder if that played a role in this. Can anyone respond with the proper traffic violation stop procedure for a police officer? i plan to file a complaint.

By anon91354 — On Jun 21, 2010

What if you are just a person watching an officer pull people over due to racial profiling and you know the person and you ask that person what he got pulled over for and the police officer threatens you to put you in the back of the car with his gun. Is that allowed?

By anon86002 — On May 23, 2010

I went sliding through a stop sign on a rainy night. I saw the cop and immediately pulled over where I was able and waited for the officer to come around the corner and put his lights on behind me. When the officer approached my car he approached from the passenger side with one hand on his gun and the other had a flashlight searching my back seat.

The first thing he said to me was "Where's the guns? Do you have any weapons in the car?" Are they able to do that? I was extremely nice to him and his response when he noticed my shocked and concerned face was, "I just want to go home tonight!"

By anon69432 — On Mar 08, 2010

I was pulled over for speeding. Police officer stated he had to go 55 to catch up to me. Cited for me 50 in a 35. Is this valid, when in fact, he came up behind me at a red light, where i was already stopped. Then he turned on his lights after i crossed the intersection to pull me over. Between the red light and previous stop distance measures less than seven-tenths of a mile. Please advise.

By anon59139 — On Jan 06, 2010

I was recently pulled over for an expired registration. Which is absolutely an oversight by my husband and myself - so I was definitely at fault for that.

When he asked for my registration I couldn't find it in the 20 seconds he gave me so he went back to his car and wrote a ticket for "failure to exhibit registration." In the meantime I actually found it but he didn't seem to care.

Failure to exhibit registration is $100 more than just an expired registration.

Is there a time limit on looking for your license and registration?

By anon57935 — On Dec 28, 2009

My husband was pulled over for speeding (61 in what he thought was 55 but was 45 on a small stretch on a rural road).

The officer approached his window but stayed back and spoke forward to him where he had to turn around to converse with the officer. This happened on a Saturday morning. He (50 years old) and his 76 year old father were coming home from a hunting trip and neither thought that my husband was speeding.

Anyway, the officer wrote a ticket and approached my husband again. My husband requested to "talk about this, I'm not signing anything yet" and was promptly asked to exit the car and put in handcuffs with no verbal explanation. My husband asked at that point to sign the paper and was told by the officer that he wasn't "unarresting" him.

He was never formally told he was under arrest or read any sort of rights. He was told later by the officer that he would have informed him that he could go to jail if he didn't sign the ticket if he had "kept his big mouth shut".

My 76 year old father in law was informed that he could pick my husband up in three to five hours. My husband remained in jail for over 48 hours because the officer waited his full lawful amount of time before he turned in his warrants for bond to be set.

The charges against my husband are all misdemeanors: speeding, expired tag (4 days), and obstruction of an officer. Am I wrong to feel that the officer treated my husband and our family unfairly?

By anon53117 — On Nov 18, 2009

I was pulled over tonight on a deserted stretch of street and made to sit for 20 minutes.

It is November, it was 60 degrees out, night, and the wind was blowing. The officers ordered me to roll down all of the car windows "for their safety" and tried to get me to turn my car off. I don't have tinted windows. I rolled the windows down, but refused to turn off my car.

They asked me where I was born and told me they needed that info for their ticket, but it was not written on the ticket when I got the copy. It was a cold, freezing, terrifying weird experience.

I own my own home, pay taxes, am an honor student, my car registration and insurance is paid for, and my license is current.

I am not a happy citizen after being treated so inhumanely. It is over an hour later and I am still having trouble getting warmed up.

By anon49991 — On Oct 25, 2009

some of the people on here obviously don't have any idea what they are talking about. Although,agency regulations may state the officer needs to tell you why you are being arrested, there is nothing in statutory law that requires it.

As for the Miranda Rights when you are arrested. An officer does not need to read your rights unless you are arrested and being asked questions related to the crime. They can, and do, ask booking questions which consist of name, birthday, height/weight, etc., which are not "Miranda" type questions. An officer also does not need to tell a person immediately why they are pulled over, but it would be wise for him/her to do so.

As for getting out of a traffic ticket! I think the best advice for any person is to be nice and polite. We have to remember officers are only doing the job they are getting paid for. They do not make they "rules" -- they are merely being paid to enforce them. If you have a problem with them enforcing certain laws, contact the sheriff and/or police chief. Remember with traffic enforcement they are, for the most part, only responding to complaints from citizens regarding certain driving behaviors.

By anon42068 — On Aug 19, 2009

in response to comment 4 by anon 36062, there are a couple of things to consider in any arrest situation. i am a peace officer and perform regular arrests, and two things come into play for proper protocol. First, if you are cooperating with the arresting officer then there is no grounds for him to be using his cuffs as a restraining device because clearly you are showing no resistance and are therefore not a threat to his safety or anyone else's and this sort of situation could be reviewed as use of excessive force. Secondly when issuing the arrest and placing in the restraining device, a peace officer must state the purpose for the arrest and briefly cite the reason for his intent to detain you and secondly he must immediately cite you your rights in verbal form or in the form of the standard Miranda warning. failure to observe this protocol is considered an unlawful arrest as you did not receive a reason or verbal citation of your rights as a detainee. Hope that helps.

By anon41081 — On Aug 12, 2009

I was pulled over for not having my registration sticker on my plate (I renewed online and hadn't received the sticker yet). I was *very* nice, kept my hands in sight, was apologetic, admitted that I knew I had no sticker, but that I could provide proof I'd registered online. Yet, against my will, I was shaking, because I couldn't find my registration confirmation instantly, and I was rifling through my glove box trying to find it. He'd boxed me in, as though I was going to bolt. It was about 11:45 a.m. and I was being *very* polite, calling a kid who was half my age (I'm a 41-year-old woman) *sir*. He came back at me with questions like, "Do you have anything in your car you shouldn't have?" (No, maybe some trash on the floor. I didn't say that, but that's all there is that shouldn't be there.) "You're *way* too nervous for just a traffic stop." (WTF does that mean? I'm not a hardened criminal, I don't regularly deal with cops, and my dealings have usually shown that they are far more intent upon bullying people than fighting crime.) "Have you ever been arrested for anything?" (No.) "Are you *on* something right now?" (Said: No. Not said, but fact: It's Monday morning, I had insomnia last night, I've been dealing with stupid paperwork since 8 a.m. and I'm now trying to pick up a few sundries and some lunch, as I'm very hungry.) "Have you ever been pulled over before?" (Yes--about 18 years ago.) "You're just too nervous for a traffic stop." (Not said: "Well, I can't see your eyes through your black-out shades, you have glow in the dark teeth, you're accusing me like a criminal, and you have a gun." Said: I'm sorry, I just couldn't find my paperwork and I wanted you to know that I am in compliance; I just don't have my sticker." I showed him the sheet from the online renewal, showing what I paid, my name, my info (all of which matches my license and insurance) and he says, "I don't know what this is." I point out the information: "Confirmation number, date paid, all of the vehicle info, etc." It was a nightmare. The only thing I'd done "wrong" was fail to put on a sticker I never received after having paid my fee. I received a "kindly" written warning. But not before being accused of having some sort of contraband in my car, of having been arrested in the past, of hiding something, of being on drugs, or whatever in the meantime. I had proof my vehicle had been registered. It was all in my name. I was harassed and "officially warned," all because I got nervous about being pulled over. Sorry. Not a hardened criminal and not used to dealing with aggressive weird cops whose eyes are disguised behind pitch black glasses and who have a gun. He didn't catch the criminal mastermind of the century. But he made me hate cops even more than I did before. Professional bullies. When I was in my 20s, and the cops were older, they just flirted. Could've had a pound of drugs in my trunk (didn't). Now, I'm old and fat and 40 and I'm calling a punk kid who's calling me a liar, "Sir" and I don't even get any dignity when I'm pulled over for a very minor problem. It's all twisted up.

By anon36062 — On Jul 09, 2009

What is the police procedure for a *suspected* stolen vehicle stop? I was pulled over, cuffed and brought to the patrol car for questioning. It wasn't until then that the officers were radioed that they were looking for a car entirely different from the one that I was driving. Is it right for them to cuff me even before they know what they are looking for? It was extremely embarrassing given that I was on my way home from a 20 hour shift!

By anon33278 — On Jun 03, 2009

It is different laws in different counties. The law states: move over or slow down and the slow down is up to the cop's attitude.

By anon8960 — On Feb 25, 2008

I was pulled over last night for the tint on the windows of my car and the officer ran my license to find that I was delinquent on paying a speeding ticket and my license showed suspended. I had paid the ticket the week prior, but the system hadn't updated so he told me that he was towing my car. Unfortunately, my paper work to show that it had been paid was at home. So, he offered me a ride. Before leaving the scene he proceeded to search my car and asked if I was carrying a weapon before patting me down. I then noticed that there were 3 police cars at the scene. I don't feel that this is normal. Is this typical protocol?

After dropping me down the street, he told me "I am not going to give you a ticket for your tinted windows." Well, isn't this the original reason he pulled me over?!? What gives?

By tightbruhnc — On Jul 02, 2007

Is it required that a Police Officer ask for a drivers registration AND license during a traffice stop. I was recently pulled and the officer did not ask for my registration - just my license and he initially did not tell me why he was stopping me. It feels too much like racial profiling to me. After he ran my license he gives me a ticket for a trivial new law - not pulling to the furthest lane when a police officer is on the shoulder of the road.

Michael Pollick

Michael Pollick

As a frequent contributor to WikiMotors, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
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