Nearly everyone is pulled over by police at some point in their life. The flashing red-and-blue lights are hardwired into drivers’ brains to mean that trouble is imminent. However, a traffic stop does not have to be a harrowing event. While there isn’t much one can do to avoid getting a ticket once they’ve been stopped, there are several things a driver can do that make the experience worse. Here are seven things drivers should not do during a traffic stop.
- Don’t panic. Being pulled over by police can be scary, especially for new drivers. Getting a traffic ticket isn’t pleasant but it’s usually nothing to worry about either, so stay calm.
- Don’t stop somewhere unsafe. Always pull over as far to the right as possible so as to avoid interfering with traffic. Do not stop in the middle of the road and do not pull over to the left. This both for the safety of the officer as well as to avoid further trouble; failing to pull over for police is a violation of the law.
- Don’t admit to anything. Even though a basic traffic stop rarely results in an arrest, anything one says can and often will be used against them in court. So never admit to committing a traffic violation (e.g. “I was only going X over the limit” or “I didn’t know the yellow was so short at this light”). Also, always wait for the officer to explain why you were pulled over, never volunteer the reason even if it is obvious (“perhaps you can tell me why you pulled me over officer”).
- Don’t refuse to provide information. Once pulled over, one should have his/her driver’s license, registration and insurance available right away. Don’t wait for the officer to ask for them. If someone spends too much time searching for these documents the officer may just issue a ticket for failing to provide them. Each document (registration, license and insurance) is its own ticket and each can be expensive.
- Don’t get out of the car. Stay in the car unless the officer instructs otherwise. Police have a difficult and dangerous job and unusual behavior like that can be upsetting or frightening to the officer, possibly causing the officer to become hostile toward the driver.
- Don’t argue with the officer. The time to fight any charges is in court. During the traffic stop, be polite and take the ticket. Arguing or getting belligerent can make the officer want to write additional tickets; in extreme cases a person could even be arrested.
- Think twice before flashing a PBA card. PBA cards rarely work and can sometimes even backfire. If the driver truly knows the officer who issued the PBA card that might be a different story, but in all cases the police officer is not required to extend a courtesy. It’s their call.
If you or someone you love has been ticketed for a traffic violation in New York, consult with an attorney before paying it. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-883-5529 for a free consultation about your case.