Police Traffic Stops

What should I do if I am stopped by the police?

Police Traffic StopTraffic stops can be tense both for you and the police officer who is stopping you.  You want to do everything you can to keep the stress level low for both you and the police officer.  Keeping the stress level low can make the difference between being given a warning and being booked into jail.

What You Should Do if Stopped by Police

  • Stop your vehicle as soon as safely possible.
  • Open your windows, turn off your vehicle, and keep your hands where the officer can see them.
  • Instruct your passengers to be polite and keep their hands in view.
  • Be courteous and polite.
  • Show drivers license, registration, and proof of insurance when the officer requests it.
  • Do not admit anything.
  • Do not try to talk your way out of the situation.
  • Do not consent to any searches.
  • If you have been drinking, do not take the field sobriety test (coordination test) or the eye test (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus).
  • Do not answer questions or agree to be video or audio taped.
  • If you are asked any questions other than the information on your driver’s license, registration or insurance card say:

“I am exercising my right to remain silent and I want an attorney present during any questioning.”

The most important thing you want to keep in mind that you are not going to convince the police officer you are right by arguing with him.  If you feel that the police officer is wrong, that is an issue for the courtroom.

What If I Carry a Firearm?

If you are armed, do not blurt out that you are armed, it may be perceived as a threat.  Wait for the police officer to ask you.  If he asks, tell him yes and where the firearm is.  Some officers will want to take custody of the firearm throughout the stop, some will let you keep it.  Follow the police officer’s instructions with regards to the firearm.

(Arizona law does not require you to disclose you have a firearm unless you are asked, but some states require you to disclose you are armed when you are first contacted by the police.  Make sure you know local laws when you travel with your firearm.)


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