Have you been pulled over? We all know that awful feeling! “You look in your rearview mirror and the lights are flashing, your heart is in your mouth and you’re all nervous”.
Ed Bernstein: Hi I’m Ed Bernstein and I’m here with David Moore an attorney in our office and today we’re going to talk about what to do if you get stopped by a police officer. You look in the rearview mirror, you see this light flashing and your hearts in your mouth, your all nervous, what’s the first thing to learn?
David Moore: Probably best to just calm down, you are probably already in traffic and are going to be stopped so the first thing you need to do is to start to slow down and look for a safe place to stop the car. Preferably switch on your hazards so they know that you are attempting to stop and then preferably go into the right side of the road, sometimes that is not always possible but always try to get to the right side of the road and then come to a complete stop.
Ed Bernstein: And to do this as quickly as you can because if you keep driving officers will tend to get a little paranoid.
David Moore: yeah they’ll get a little bit paranoid and they might catch you doing something else, like improper lane change or something else unsafe because of the stress of what’s happening.
Ed Bernstein: OK, so you pull over, now people may have a tendency to get out of their car is that a smart move?
David Moore: No, getting out of the car tends to make police officers nervous especially with police officers getting in officer-involved shootings. So the recommendation is to stop, stay in the car, keep your hands on the steering wheel. If cops see you fidgeting when you are searching for your licence and registration, they may think you are looking for something else.
Ed Bernstein: That’s a great point, so you’ll wait for the officer to ask you for your licence and registration because if they see you bending over it could look like you are reaching for a gun or moving an illegal substance. So keep your hands above the line of the seat.
David Moore: Yes, that’s right, so the position 10-2 is the best way to look at it. Stay there and roll down the window and when the officers come up to you they will ask you for your licence and registration, you may then get it, whether you have to reach into your pocket or the glove box. They will at least know what you are about to do and what you are about to get out.
Ed Bernstein: And you can warn them, for instance, tell them it’s in my glove box and I’m going to reach to get it.
David Moore: Yes
Ed Bernstein: Other times police officers will ask Do you know why we are stopping you?
David Moore: Yes, that’s a common question, don’t answer, you may know but just say something like ‘I don’t know officer, what did you see me do?’
Ed Bernstein: Because answering may be an admission of guilt.
David Moore: Yes correct, it could maybe go to a trial and he said that he was speeding or did whatever.
Ed Bernstein: How should you go about speaking to the officer? Your a little bit upset you might be disagreeing with why the officer stopped you. Is this the time to argue?
David Moore: It’s not a time to argue, its a time to stay calm and the best advice is to just be nice because if you are nice to the officer and respectable they may just let you go off with a warning. Also if you are belligerent or trying to argue that is something a cop will remember. These cops stop people, numerous stops every day and if you contest the ticket he might remember you because of your bad behaviour! So to not be remembered is a good idea.
Ed Bernstein: Yes exactly! And after he creates the print out of the ticket he is going to ask you to sign something, but that’s not an acknowledgement of guilt.
David Moore: It’s not, that basically serves a process that he witnessed you doing something that was illegal. You are acknowledging that you have received a ticket and will have to answer in a court on a separate date whether you can contest the ticket.
Ed Bernstein: Technically they have a right to arrest you at that moment but by signing that document it’s in lieu of being arrested it’s your promise to appear in court.
David Moore: That’s it, it’s just a promise to appear, there is some law where you can request to be taken immediately before a justice of the peace but generally you just take it and show up at a later date to contest the ticket or plead guilty.
Ed Bernstein: Of course now that you’ve got the ticket there’s a lot we can do after the fact in the next video we’ll talk about what to do once you get that ticket.