New York’s Premier Personal Injury Law Firm, Since 1954

What New York drivers should do when pulled over by the police

New York drivers should be well aware of how to conduct themselves when pulled over by the police.

Even the safest and best of drivers in New York are not immune from being pulled over by the police. With the number of police incidents on the rise, and with public opinion of the police taking such a drastic turn, it is a solid idea for drivers to understand exactly what they should do if they are ever pulled over by the police. A bit of knowledge can go a long way in putting you at ease and helping you understand your rights.

Make the right first impression

Police officers can be just as nervous about motorists as motorists are about police officers, mainly because neither knows exactly what the other will do. For that reason, you should set the right tone to create an air of ease. This means turning the engine off and rolling down the window low enough to speak through when pulled over. You should also turn on your hazard or emergency lights when pulled over and remain polite when speaking to an officer.

Stay calm

It is perfectly natural for everyone to panic a bit when they see flashing blue lights in the rearview mirror, which can unravel the nerves. Despite this, you should do your best to remain calm. Make sure your hands are clearly visible when an officer approaches you, refrain from making sudden movements and answer all questions honestly. If you have to move your hands, ask for permission and let the officer know what you are going to do.

Know you can refuse to answer questions

Citizens are not obligated to answer questions asked of them by the police. That being said, they do have to provide the officer with their license, proof of insurance, name and registration during a traffic stop. If you do not feel at ease answering a question, simply respond, “I exercise my right to not answer that question.”

Understand probable cause

While you do not have to give officers permission to search your vehicle, they are legally allowed to do so if they have probable cause. Even if you do not have anything to hide inside your automobile, you still might not be comfortable allowing an officer to search your car without you watching. Do not be afraid to speak up if you are ever uneasy.

Sometimes a traffic stop in New York results in a ticket, and other times it might result in an arrest. Should you ever feel your rights have been violated, seek out the help of an attorney to help decide on your next move and understand your civil rights.