What to Do When You Are Pulled Over for a Traffic Violation

traffic violation, Rolling Meadows traffic citations attorneyAlmost everyone knows the fear that begins to take over when you are driving along and you see a police car. Even if the car is going the other way, you begin to ask yourself dozens of questions. Was I speeding? Did I change lanes without signaling? My registration isn’t due yet, is it? Could I even find my insurance card right now? Most of the time, the officer in his or her car is paying little or no attention to you, but when you see the flashing lights of a police car directly behind you, things can change quickly.

While you may have your suspicions about why you are being pulled over, make sure that you:

  • Pull over as soon as you can. Acknowledge the officer’s presence by putting on your turn signal right away and by decreasing your speed. Obviously, do not slam on your brakes. A turn signal and decreased speed shows the officer that you intend to stop when and where it is safe to do so;
  • Put your window down and place your hands visibly on the steering wheel. Depending on the roadway, the officer may approach your car from either side. Do not wait to be asked to lower the window, even in bad weather. Keep your hands visible—the steering wheel is probably the easiest way to do this—and avoid making sudden or jerky movements. Have your driver’s license, insurance card, and registration ready, and get permission before reaching for them;
  • Control your emotions and attitude. The officer will expect you to be nervous and a little frightened, but avoid becoming rude or aggressive. If you are polite and respectful, you might be able to drive away with a warning instead of a ticket. It is important to keep your cool, even if the officer does not. Officers can have bad days too, and while that does not excuse improper or illegal behavior, you will have the chance to address any mistreatment later.
  • Avoid arguing. You might disagree with the officer and his or her assessment of the situation, and it is okay to say so respectfully, but an argument is not likely to get you anywhere. A traffic ticket is not proof that you are guilty, and there will be a time and place to make your case in the future.
  • Do not consent to a search. It not uncommon for police officers to casually ask you to submit to search of your vehicle for drugs or other illegal materials. Even if you “have nothing to hide,” as the officer might suggest, consenting to a search is never a good idea because it takes away your ability to challenge the search later. If you refuse and the officer searches the car anyway, you can challenge the basis of the search in court.
  • Confirm that you are allowed to leave. Once it appears that the officer has completed the stop, be sure he or she is ready for you to go. It is perfectly fine to ask if you drive off or allow the officer to do so first. In many cases, the officer will let you go first so that the flashing lights can help you merge back into traffic safely.

Contact Us for Help

If your traffic stop resulted in a citation, it is important to understand your options and to respond in the time allotted. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows traffic violations lawyer to discuss your case before you make any decisions. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule a free consultation at Cosley Law Office today.





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