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What should you do when stopped by law enforcement?

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2020 | Criminal Law |

Law enforcement has a difficult job which sometimes involves confronting hostile people. It can be difficult for an officer to understand your intent in a situation, which can quickly lead to escalation and the potential for serious injury. To protect yourself, it helps to know exactly what you should do when stopped by an officer while driving.

The Texas Department of Public Safety explains there are certain steps you can take to demonstrate that you are complying with an officer’s request in order to avoid causing issues during a traffic stop.

Pull over quickly and safely

It is state law that you must pull over immediately when an officer alerts you to do so. If you feel unsafe about pulling over exactly where you are, you can pull into a parking lot or nearby area. You can also call 911 to verify it is actually an officer pulling you over while driving under the speed limit to a safe, well-lit area.

Keep your hands on the wheel

Once you stop, turn off your vehicle. You should roll down your window and keep your hands on the wheel and visible to the officer. If the officer asks you to produce documents, explain where they are and that you will be reaching for them before you move your hands.

Stay in your vehicle

You should never leave your vehicle unless the officer asks you to do so. Make sure all passengers stay inside the vehicle as well. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, you do not have to consent, but you also cannot physically stop the officer from conducting a search. Simply restate that you do not consent.