What should I not do during a traffic stop?

traffic stop

Law enforcement officers may pull motorists over if they suspect the motorist was not abiding by the rules of the road, committing a traffic violation. Traffic stops can be extremely overwhelming for individuals as they believe they may be in trouble for violating the law. Even if the motorist believes they are innocent they should avoid arguing with the officer. If you have been pulled over by a law enforcement officer for a traffic violation, contact a qualified Memphis Criminal Defense Attorney who can help defend your interests.

During a traffic stop, what should I not do?

Do not panic

Although a traffic stop can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, there is no need to panic. Panicking will only escalate the situation as police officers may interpret a motorist’s anxiety as suspicious and may believe they are trying to hide something. Motorists should remain calm and simply answer the police officers’ questions.

Do not unbuckle

Every state enforces strict seat belt laws. If a police officer approaches the vehicle and sees the motorist is not wearing their seat belt they will assume it was never on in the first place. This could result in a ticket. Additionally, if the officer does not see the motorist’s hands when they are trying to remove their seat belt, this could cause the officer to believe the motorist is reaching for something dangerous like a weapon. This is why motorists should keep their seat belts buckled in unless told otherwise by the officer.

Do not argue with the officer 

Motorists should refrain from arguing with the officer that pulled them over as it can escalate the situation. Motorists may believe they did nothing to warrant a traffic stop, however, they should not argue with the officer.

Do not speak before the officer

Motorists may try to speak before the officer when they are pulled over to defend themselves, however, they should allow the officer to ask them questions. Motorists should only reveal information that is asked of them and should avoid confessing any violations they believe they may have committed.

Do not exit the car

Unless directed by a police officer, motorists should stay inside their vehicle. Law enforcement officers may see the motorist getting out of the vehicle as a potential threat. This could cause them to react negatively which could lead to serious problems. Sometimes motorists may get out of their vehicle because the officer is taking a long time running their information. However, no matter what, unless they are told otherwise by the officer, motorists must stay inside their vehicle.

If you have been stopped by a law enforcement officer for a suspected traffic violation, contact our dedicated team members who can help defend your rights today.