A California police officer who has reason to believe that you are violating a traffic law might pull your vehicle over. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to pull to the side of the road as soon as you see flashing lights in your rear mirror. However, you’re generally not obligated to stop until you find a safe place to do so.
Keep your hands visible at all times
Ideally, you’ll keep your hands on the steering wheel until the officer directs you to reach for your license, registration and proof of insurance. While you may not pose a danger to the person who has initiated the traffic stop, that individual doesn’t know what your intentions are. In some cases, reaching for an object could give an officer probable cause to search your vehicle or your person.
Refrain from talking too much
Anything that you say can be used as a basis to cite you for speeding, reckless driving or other traffic offenses. Depending on why your vehicle was stopped, your words could be used as a basis to charge you with a criminal offense. Therefore, it’s generally a good idea to give perfunctory answers to any questions that you’re required to respond to.
Remain composed when interacting with an officer
As a general rule, you’ll want to stay polite, calm and composed when speaking with an officer. This is true even if the person who pulled you over is acting in an unprofessional manner. If you are taken into custody for any reason, you should ask to speak to your criminal law attorney as quickly as possible.
If you are pulled over, don’t assume that you have done anything wrong. Instead, simply do your best to get through a traffic stop in a safe and timely manner.