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What to do when a police officer pulls you over?
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Why Are Innocent People Sometimes Found Guilty?
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Traffic Stops

What to do when you see the bright lights… and they aren’t from the city.

By: Biberaj Snow & Sinclair, PC

We often see individuals who have gotten themselves into a difficult situation during a traffic stop, by doing something or saying something that they shouldn’t have.  It is hard to always know what is the best thing to do when you don't have your lawyer there with you, so here is a short list of suggestions for what to do when you are pulled over by a police officer in Loudoun County or anywhere else:

First, come to a complete stop on the safe side of the road as soon as possible. 

Second, roll down your window, and rest your hands high on the steering wheel where they will be visible to the officer.  Do not get out of the car unless directed to do so.

Third, be polite and respectful at all times, even if the officer is not.

Fourth, comply with the officer’s request for license and registration.  Ask permission to reach into the glove box if necessary.

Fifth, the officer may ask if you are transporting weapons or drugs in your automobile.   This is a standard question, so give them a standard answer, “No.” 

Sixth, if the officer is asking permission, (“Can I search your car,” “Do you mind if…”) remember that these are requests and you do not have to consent.  You may respectfully decline such requests. The officer must have probable cause to search you or your car, unless you give consent.

Seventh, if the officer is ordering you to do something, e.g., “step out of the car,” you must comply.

Eighth, make no incriminating statements.  All statements you make (including Field Sobriety tests and Preliminary Breath Tests) to the officer, can be used against you in court (even if you were not advised of your Miranda rights). The less said, the better. 

Finally, if you are arrested, do not talk with the police.  Request a lawyer before answering any questions.  Immediately contact a lawyer who will be able to assist you with your legal issues.


Disclaimer: This information is intended for general interest only. It is not intended to be nor should it be deemed as legal advice. Please consult with one of our experienced attorneys at Biberaj Snow & Sinclair for the best advice specific to your needs.