The pit of your stomach grew upon seeing in your rearview mirror the flashing red lights of a law enforcement vehicle. You are not sure why were you stopped. However, right now, the focus should not be on answering that. Instead, you must focus on your composure.
Keeping anger at bay is essential whenever law enforcement stops you. Whether the actions of the law enforcement officer were justifiable is something you will address in court. But as a number of concerns swirl in your head, your initial priority is to concentrate on staying calm. This is no time to let anger surface and boil over, possibly leading to an escalating situation.
Remain in vehicle and stay composed. Your anger may be justified for being pulled over for a minor infraction such as a broken taillight or cracked windshield. However, do not let anger overcome you. Here are some things to consider:
- Avoid certain temptations: This would include protesting your innocence, lecturing the officer of your rights, reaching into the glove compartment or reaching beneath your seat. Do not make any sudden moves. Law enforcement may view any such actions as threats and this will give them reasonable articulable suspicion to search you or the vehicle.
- Remain in your vehicle: Clearly display your hands on the steering wheel, and do not get out of your car.
- Stay composed and courteous: Naturally, you likely have worries, but keep calm and follow the law enforcement officer’s instructions.
- Say as little as possible: You do not have to say anything to law enforcement other than to provide your name and registration of the vehicle. If you do talk, it is advisable to keep answers short and simple and focused solely on the question. Do not admit anything. Avoid excessive details, which may lead to incriminating statements used against you in court. Remember, you have the right to remain silent.
The circumstances surrounding this incident may have you questioning the actions of law enforcement. But just remember that, eventually, the truth will surface, so it makes no sense to lose your temper and tempt fate.