Part 1 What To Do During A Traffic Stop

Part 1 

A. Acknowledge the officer by turning on flashers. To let the officer know that you’ve seen his lights and that you plan on pulling over, turn on your emergency flashers. Chief recommends you do this if you think you’ll need to drive a distance before you can find a safe place to pull over.

B. Pull over to a safe area. Typically, you want to pull over to the right side of the road. When looking for a spot to pull over to, think “safety first” for both you and the officer. Chief recommends looking for an area with a wide shoulder so passing traffic isn’t a hazard. If it’s nighttime, look for a place that’s well lit if possible. That will help put the officer at ease. Parking lots and well-lit side streets are other safe places to pull over to. “If you need to travel a short distance to pull over, do so at a slower pace than you normally drive,” Chief recommends. You don’t want the officer to think you’re trying to make a getaway. Also, if you need to cross multiple lanes to pull over to the right-hand side of the road, do so safely. 

If the officer ask you to exit the vehicle you cannot refuse. (Please read information below)

  • See Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106 (1977) in regards to requiring drivers to exit the vehicle upon request of law enforcement
    • The United States Supreme Court held an officer may order the driver of a vehicle who is not under arrest out of the vehicle while the officer issues a traffic citation
    • The Court viewed this intrusion on the driver as minimal and used a balancing analysis in favor of the police
    • The Court acknowledged that officers are shot by seated drivers and determined that officers’ safety outweighed the slight inconvenience to the driver
    • The Court did not require the officer to show the driver was dangerous when ordering the driver to exit the vehicle
  • See Md. v. Wilson, 519 U.S. 408 (1997) in regards to requiring passengers to exit the vehicle upon request of law enforcement.
    • The authority granted by Mimms was extended to include passengers