How to Handle a Traffic Stop

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What Should I Do if I am Stopped by a Police Officer?

Ask anyone who operates a motor vehicle whether they or someone they know has been stopped for a traffic violation and the chances are pretty good that they will say they have.  The reality is that traffic stops are relatively common on public roadways, and you may be subject to a stop yourself one day.  

If you are stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation, keep in mind the following tips to increase your chances of avoiding a citation and to make the traffic stop safe for you and the officer:

What Should I do if the Police Car is Unmarked?

Many police departments use both marked and umarked patrol cars for conducting traffic stops.  This is done to remind drivers that any vehicle may be driven by a police officer, and therefore drivers should always obey traffic laws.  In some cases, however, the driver of the unmarked vehicle attempting to pull you over could be someone pretending to be a cop for the purpose of carrying out an illegal activity.  Impersonating a police officer is illegal.  

If you are skeptical about the vehicle that is attempting to pull you over because it is unmarked and you cannot identify the driver of the vehicle, you should:

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Traffic Violation?

Depending on the circumstances of the stop and the kind of traffic violation you are cited with, you may wish to fight your traffic ticket in court.  You should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to learn more about your rights and to determine what defenses may be available.  Remember, you are to be treated with dignity and respect by the police officer.  If you believe that you have been treated unfairly, you need to present your case in court.

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Last Modified: 01-27-2011 11:36 AM PST

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