Thursday, January 26, 2006

What To Do When A Cop Stops You

Simple stuff. Almost common sense and stuff you'd think that parents taught their kids, but just in case you've forgotten or your old man never knew, here's some great tips on what to do and not do during a traffic stop. These were written by "Jack" at Texas Music Blog.

Want to avoid getting shot during a traffic stop by an on-edge officer? Or just lower your odds of getting a ticket? Then do what I do;

1. I pull over. As soon as I see I'm getting stopped, I hit my turn signal and pull over as far to the right as is safe to do so. I put it in park. He's looking for those reverse lights. I turn off the engine, and roll down the window. At night, I turn on the inside light. I lay my hands on the steering wheel. I turn my damn radio off. Not down, but off. Then I sit there and wait, because I know it might take a minute for him to run my plate and get ready to walk up to a car he knows nothing about. Oh, and I hang up my freakin' cell phone. What am I, a moron? Do I really believe that there is any conversation more urgent than the one I need to have with the man who is standing at my window with a weapon on his hip and a rapidly souring attitude?

2. I am friendly and polite. The officer will introduce himself, usually, and tell me why he stopped me. He'll ask me how I am this morning, afternoon, evening, night. I usually say, "Not as good as I was a second ago", with a smile. It right off the bat does two things; it lets him know I'm not gonna start a pissing match over getting pulled over; and if delivered with a sheepish look, will bring a smile to his face, nine out of ten times. It lightens the mood, which in this situation is a good thing. A sense of humor never hurts. I call him Sir, or Trooper, or Officer. I show him some respect. It doesn't hurt and just might help. This is not the same as kissing his ass, and he knows it. I don't act angry or upset. He takes crap from people all day, every day, and me giving him more crap will not make him more inclined to cut me a break.

3. I do not argue. Chances are, I was speeding. That's what I get pulled over for the most. I will not win an argument with this man, and I will only greatly increase my chances of getting a ticket. I don't give excuses, and I do not lie. He's heard all the excuses, and he will know if I lie. And it will piss him off. My usual response to being told I was doing seventy six in a sixty? "I apologize, Sir. I just wasn't paying attention to my speed." It's humble, I didn't actually admit guilt, and it shows I'm just a regular guy who made a mistake, not a confrontational asshole who deserves an attitude ticket. If it's a not speed related and I don't think I did it, I might say, mildly, "Hmm. I really did think I stopped at the stop sign, Sir." One time, and leave it at that. I can always take it up with the judge.

4. This is an extension of Rule #3. I do whatever he says. Slowly. He wants my driver's license? "It's right here in my wallet, Sir." and I reach for it, slowly. Same thing with insurance. I tell him it's in the glove box before I reach for it. I'll tell him I'm gonna take off my seatbelt before I reach over there. I don't want him screwing a pistol in my ear because I made a too fast, unexpected move. I want him calm, relaxed, and comfortable. If he wants me to exit the car, I do it. I don't sit there and say "Why?". He's got his reasons, and he'll tell me. After I comply by exiting my vehicle. Anything he tells me to do, I do it, without questioning his reasons. I am cooperative. He appreciates that.

5. I sign the ticket. It's not, as he will tell me, an admission of guilt, and if I don't do it, he will arrest me. Not for not signing the ticket, but for speeding. Or whatever he stopped me for. Signing the ticket just says I will show up in court.

That's it. Five Simple Rules for What to Do When Getting Pulled Over. The author of this post makes no claim, implied or otherwise, that actually following these rules will lessen your chances of traffic citations or arrest, under any circumstances or conditions. This information is presented for entertainment purposes only. The author accepts no responsibility for the consequences of ignoring this post. The author urges you to obey all laws, regulations, and ordinances in your area at all times. The author further urges you to treat all law enforcement officials with courtesy and respect. After all, no one ever got a ticket for not being an asshole.


Rorschach said...

my only question is, what do you tell the cop when you have your weapon in the same glove compartment as the insurance papers?

Uh officer, about that insurance card... I got it, it is right there in the glove compartment, but you see there is this little problem... my .380 is in there too and I really don't want you putting that pretty .40 S&W Glock in my ear if I open the compartment.... you are welcome to open it yourself if you like....

TxGoodie said...

When I took my CHL class the instructor stressed that if you are carrying the first thing you do is give the officer BOTH licenses right off the bat. He'll most likely ask where the gun is and you take it from there. You don't even have to show the CHL license if you're not carrying, but I'm pretty sure it'd pop up on your TDL info anyway.

One of my daughters got stopped and presented both licenses and the cop asked if she could get to her gun easily. She said 'yes' and started reaching for it and he started jumping up and down saying 'NO don't get it'... so it was one of those 'just tell me, don't reach for it' deals. :-)

I don't know how the new laws for travelers affects the CHL necessity, but I've always carried in my car and got the license just because I could. I have heard that some folks find it easier than others to drive armed without the CHL, but don't have any firsthand knowledge pro or con. I'd say always tell them so there's no surprises bottom line, you'd be correct with your "uh officer" line above.