Today, Your Legal Corner will discuss “Police and Motor Vehicle Stops.”
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and sons and daughters from around the United States will be heading home for the holidays. Roadways across the country will be flooded with vehicles going in every direction. Drivers will be speeding, texting, driving while impaired among many other violations making our trip home more dangerous.
Thankfully, the police will be out in force trying to keep our roadways safe. They have a very difficult job trying to maintain order. Many police officers are killed each year and thousands are injured. They are trained to conduct motor vehicle stops in a very systematic way to maintain their safety while they investigate the alleged infraction.
Rules of the road
Always remember the rules of the road whenever you come in contact with the police. Your goal is to minimize conflict in order to ensure the stop does not escalate. Please consider the following.
Importantly, staying out of trouble is the easiest way to avoid conflict with the police. If you are stopped or approached by a police officer, consider them your friend not as an enemy. Even the most minor interaction or routine traffic stop has the potential for danger.
If a police vehicle activates his or her lights, slow down and pull over safely when you can. If the police vehicle is unmarked, drive below the speed limit to a well lit, populated spot and then pull over.
Stay in the driver’s seat with both hands in sight on the steering wheel. Do not exit your car unless asked to do so. Turn on your interior light if stopped at night.
Cooperate with police
Always treat the officer with respect. It is in your best interest to cooperate with the police even if you feel you are being unjustly stopped. No matter how upset you may be, always try to maintain your composure.
The police office will want to see your license and registration first. Most will not tell you the reasons for the motor vehicle stop until after they have reviewed your credentials. This is to avoid any debate before they have these documents in hand.
If you wish to offer an explanation, do so before the officer returns to their police vehicle. The officer cannot void the ticket after it has been written. If you believe you have been treated unfairly, plead not guilty and present your case in court and not on the side of the road.
Please remember that police officers do not want to detain you any longer than necessary. A few minutes of cooperation will expedite the process and allow you to soon be on your way.
Thanksgiving is a special time for families. Make sure you obey the rules of the road when traveling this holiday season. Do drive safe and in the words of Ellen DeGeneres, “lets be kind to one another out there.”
Till next time, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner, will discuss”Shoplifting and the law.”
Victoria M. Dalton is an attorney with the law offices of Hoffman DiMuzio.
Send questions, or comments to Victoria at [email protected]. Or call 856-845-8243.
Please note that Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational articles about the law and is not legal advice.