Most people have been pulled over by a New York cop at one point in time or another. A traffic stop is the most common form of interaction drivers have with the criminal justice system. If you find yourself being pulled over, it is not the end of the world. Remain calm and follow these steps. Chances are you will get off with a warning, but do not be surprised if you receive a ticket. In the end, the cop has pulled you over for a reason.
Dealing with a traffic stop: what you need to know
- Have the proper documentation ready for the officer
- Stay in your seat and advise any passengers to do the same
- Answer questions truthfully, but not in depth
- Wait patiently while the officer processes your information
- If issued a warning, thank the officer and drive away slowly
- If issued a citation, stay calm and pay attention
The 1st thing you should do when you notice the officer has flashed his lights is pull over to a safe location. Pulling off to the right side of the road at a designated area will keep you and the officer safe. Put the vehicle in park and wait for the officer to arrive at your window. This can take a few minutes, so you must be sure not to move around. Never make any quick movements or open your vehicle’s door. This will likely be perceived as an aggressive response and can provoke the officer. Be sure to instruct any passengers to do the same. Place yourself in the shoes of the officer; he or she has no way of knowing anything about your intentions. They have pulled you over for an alleged traffic violation, and are instructed to take the necessary precautions.
When the officer arrives at your door, you should already know what they are going to ask. Have your license, registration, and proof of insurance ready for them to take. These documents should be kept in your glove compartment, so if you need to grab them, tell the officer exactly what you are doing. You don’t want them thinking you are reaching for a weapon. The officer will likely ask you a few questions. Answer them in all honesty, but do not go into great detail. Doing so can work against your favor. Remember that all squad cars have live feeds in place to record the situation.
The officer will take your information with them to their patrol car, and then run them through their system. This is standard procedure and can take some time. Remember to stay calm and wait patiently for them to return. When they do return, you will be faced with one of two options, a warning or a citation. If you are fortunate enough to get the latter, be sure to thank the officer and apologize for your actions. If you get a citation, make sure you understand what actions you need to take. Consult an experienced New York traffic lawyer such as the Law Offices of Michael W. Alpert for legal assistance. Do not be afraid to ask questions, and never get upset or hostile, as this will quickly land you in handcuffs. This is the most effective way to deal with a traffic stop by a cop.