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What to Do When You Are Pulled Over by the Police for a Traffic Stop

  1. Pull over at a safe location: If a police officer indicates for you to pull over, put on your turn signal to drive to the nearest, safe location and pull over. If possible, pull over as far to the right as you can, so that when the officer approaches your driver’s side window he will not have to worry about being hit by cars in the right lane. Warning: If you suspect that the person trying to pull you over is not a police officer (for example, he or she is driving an unmarked car), you do not have to immediately pull over. Instead, put your flashers on, indicate that you acknowledge the ‘officer’s” presence by waving at him, continue driving at the speed limit towards a busy, well-lit area, and call 911. Inform the 911 dispatcher that you are worried that someone posing as a police officer is trying to pull you over.Tell the dispatcher your current location and direction of travel as well as the make and model of your car. Do not get out of your car until the 911 dispatcher can confirm that person trying to pull you over is a real police officer. If the dispatcher cannot confirm that the person, carefully drive to a safe place such as your local police station and follow all of the dispatcher’s additional instructions.
  2. Do not make the police officer nervous: You do not want to make the police officer nervous that you may be dangerous. As such, turn off your ignition, turn on your interior car lights (if it’s dark outside), and completely roll down your driver’s side window. Do not get out of the car unless you are asked to. Keep your hands at the ten and two o’clock positions on your wheel and do not start searching for your license, registration, and insurance information until the police officer asks you to do so.
  3. Be Polite, Don’t Ask Questions, and Don’t Make Admissions: Don’t speak until spoken too; be courteous; and do not be condescending, flirtatious, or argumentative – your goal is to be as least memorable as possible. If the officer asks you if you know why you were pulled over, it is best to say something non-committal such as, “I’m not sure” and then wait for the officer to explain the reason. Don’t argue with his reason, either remain silent or simply say “I see” or “I understand” in response. Remember, some police officers will strategically try to get you to either admit that you committed a traffic violation or that you were so careless or inattentive that you had no idea whether you did or not, so that they can use these admissions in court against you.
  4. If asked to do so, get out of the car: If the police officer has reasonable suspicion that you or your passengers could be a threat, he has the right to ask you (and your passengers) to get out of the car and then perform a minimally invasive pat down of your clothing to check for weapons.
  5. If you are issued a ticket, don’t start arguing: If the police officer gives you a ticket, don’t argue with the officer, don’t grimace or roll your eyes, and be as polite as possible. Remember, the key is to be unmemorable. If you start arguing with the officer or make a scene, it increases the chances that he will remember you and the specifics of your infraction, and as such, he will be motivated to appear in traffic court so that your ticket doesn’t get dismissed due to him being a no-show.
  6. Carefully drive away and obey all traffic laws: When the officer tells you that you are free to go, carefully drive away from where you were stopped making sure to use your turn signal. Be aware of oncoming traffic, do not cut off the police officer, make sure not to disobey a traffic control device, obey the speed limit as well as all other traffic laws. The last thing you want is back-to-back traffic tickets!
  7. Immediately call a Miami traffic attorney: Most people who receive traffic tickets just go ahead and pay them. Big mistake. If you pay your traffic ticket, points will be assessed against your license which will cause your car insurance rates to increase. Also, if you receive too many points within a set period of time, you’ll end up with a suspended drivers license. When hiring a lawyer, you should look for a Miami criminal defense lawyer who has the experience and knowledge required to get your Miami Dade traffic citation dismissed or at the very least, obtain a withhold of adjudication for you so that you do not receive any points on your license thus avoiding losing your driving privileges or incur increased insurance rate premiums.

If you have been arrested for traffic crimes such as:

Contact the Miami law offices of Yale Galanter at (305) 576-0244 or (954) 524-6600 or browse through the rest of our site.