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         Traffic Stop Circular         


If the Police Stop You... In Your Car

A traffic stop is one of the most frequent encounters between citizens and police. Usually, police officers will pull a vehicle over if they have reason to believe that some offense has occurred. You may feel anxious, irritated at the delay, or concerned about a possible citation. However, officers are also concerned about possible threats to their personal safety while performing their duties.

The following recommended procedures will ensure that the traffic stop can be completed quickly and safely.

When signaled by an officer, safely pull over to a place out of traffic flow.

Sit calmly, with your hands visible on the steering wheel. If you have passengers, ask them to sit quietly with their hands visible. (Avoid sudden movements or ducking in the seat; these actions can unnecessarily alarm the officer.)

If it is night, turn on your inside light when you pull the car over. For safety reasons, the officer will want to visually scan the car's interior before proceeding.

Do not get out of your car unless the officer asks you to step out. If you are asked to do so, comply in a calm manner.

A sure way to put an officer at ease is to communicate your actions in advance by telling the officer what you will be doing before you move.

If requested, you must give the officer your driver's license and vehicle registration. Tell the officer where it is before reaching for it - especially if it is tucked away in the glove box or some other unusual place.

If you are issued a citation, you will be asked to sign it. Signing is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgment that you have received the citation. While you may wish to clarify the circumstances of the citation, keep in mind that your guilt or innocence can only be determined in court. Arguments over or protests about the situation cannot be resolved in the street.
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