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What Should I Do if Stopped by the Police?

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This information is designed to educate citizens about expectations during a traffic stop. Understanding what is expected from both parties improves communication, helps reduce anxieties, and improves the public’s understanding about the need for traffic law enforcement.
STEPS TO FOLLOW IF STOPPED BY THE POLICE
  • ALWAYS MERGE TO THE RIGHT WHEN ANY EMERGENCY VEHICLE APPROACHES YOUR VEHICLE WITH IT’S EMERGENCY LIGHTS ON.
  • Stop your vehicle as far out of the lane of traffic and off the road as possible.
  • STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE unless directed to do otherwise. Remain calm. Keep your hands visible. Staying in your vehicle reduces dangers of oncoming traffic.
  • Provide a valid driver’s license, a valid vehicle registration and proof of vehicle insurance.
  • If you are uncomfortable about stopping because an area is deserted or not well-lit, explain this to the officer and ask if you can proceed to a more populated or better illuminated place.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU RECEIVE A CITATION
  • IF YOU DO NOT AGREE WITH THE CITATION, DO NOT ARGUE AT THE SCENE. INSTEAD, GO TO¬†THE COURT SPECIFIED¬†AT THE TIME SPECIFIED ON THE BOTTOM OF YOUR CITATION. YOU WILL NEED TO PLEAD “NOT-GUILTY”. YOU WILL THEN BE ASSIGNED ANOTHER COURT APPEARANCE IN FRONT OF A JUDGE AT A LATER DATE TO DEBATE YOUR CASE.
SOME THINGS TO REMEMBER
  • An average of three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol related crash at some point in their lives.
  • The driving behaviors associated with aggressive driving- speeding, red light running, following too closely, and others – cause hundreds of crash-related deaths and thousands of injuries each year.
  • Lap/shoulder safety belts, when used correctly, significantly reduce the risk of crash related fatalities and injuries.
  • Traffic stops often result in the identification of criminals who are suspected in other crimes.
  • Remember you are required to cooperate with all reasonable requests from the law enforcement officer. Treat the officer how you would want to be treated.
  • Do not speed, drive aggressively or drive while impaired on alcohol or drugs, including medications prescribed to you by a medical doctor. Always wear your seat belt and correctly buckle up any children who are riding with you. Yield to pedestrians when they have the right-of-way. If you follow all traffic laws, you reduce your chances that the police will stop you.
TRAFFIC LAW ENFORCEMENT BENEFITS
To effectively address public health and safety issues, law enforcement agencies enforce traffic laws. Traffic law enforcement is a time proven method of:
  • Increasing pedestrian safety, seat belt, child safety seat and helmet use.
  • Reducing the incidence of impaired and aggressive driving.
  • Increasing the apprehension of dangerous criminals
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