You will always need to produce your driver’s license, proof of insurance and car registration. I keep mine above the sun visor because I do not want to try and find those documents in the glove box or console. We give away plastic sleeves that advertise our law firm that are made to hold auto registration and proof of insurance. Call or come by and we’ll give you one.
First, acknowledge that you see the blue lights by putting on your signal to indicate that you are pulling over. Slow down. Find a safe place for both you and the officer. Stay in the car.
The next idea is to turn off the engine and roll down the window. Keep your hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them. Put yourself in the officer’s place a little. Officers get hurt in these situations and helping them feel safe is the best thing to do in an uncomfortable situation. Remember you’re going to need your driver’s license, proof of insurance and your car registration. Keep them handy.
I advise that you’re always polite, always address the police officer as “officer” or sir or ma’am. If an attorney has to go to court, it’s always best if the officer has no reason to truly remember your client. Some of the most difficult situations I have dealt with are situations where my clients felt the need to curse or insult a police officer. Those cases rarely go well later. Whether you plan or fighting the ticket or not, be polite.
Everything you say to an officer is admissible in court. Sometimes just saying you’re sorry helps. If you don’t plan on fighting your ticket, apologize and promise to pay more attention. The side of the road is not the place to argue a charge. If you want to contest the ticket, you can do so in court in front of the judge.
When all is said and done, take the time to put your documents away before re-entering traffic. If you are upset, take a minute to calm yourself. Take a few deep breaths and relax. When you are ready, turn on your signal and merge back into traffic.
Buckle up, drive safely and as always your referrals are appreciated!