10 Things to Keep in Mind When Being Pulled Over for a Traffic Stop in Minnesota
Here is a real scenario: You see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror, and the police officer is not passing you. Your stomach tightens. You may feel anxious, nervous, or even angry. That is only natural; most of us have been there.
A traffic ticket can be much more than an annoying inconvenience. It can cause your auto insurance premiums to soar and it can result in your driver’s license being suspended or revoked.
When stopped by a police officer, remember it helps immensely to follow directions. Even though people who drive over the speed limit, or other traffic violations, know they risk being pulled over, it can still give them quite a scare when it actually happens. In these situations, it can be hard to remember what to do or say. That is why we have compiled these 10 tips to help you remember what to do if you are pulled over in Minnesota.
1. Stay calm
This may be hard in the heat of the moment, but it is a crucial piece to a safe traffic stop. Do not let yourself get upset or angry, as this may alarm the officer and make the situation worse. You want to make the situation as easy as possible for the police officer.
2. Pull over slowly, turn off your car, and roll down your window
This will make it clear to the officer that you are going to comply to any orders given and have no intention of trying to flee the scene.
3. Stay in your car
Always stay seated during a traffic stop. Only get out of your car if you are asked to by the police officer.
4. Never remove your seatbelt
You want to make sure the officer sees you wearing your seatbelt so you do not risk an unnecessary ticket.
5. Keep both hands on the wheel
Your hands should be visible at all times so you don't alarm the police officer of a possible weapon. The only time you should move your hands off the wheel is if the officer asks you to, or if you ask specifically to remove your hands to find something, such as your license or proof of insurance (see #6 below).
6. If you must move, do so carefully and make your intentions clear
If the police officer does ask you to get something from inside your car (i.e. license, registration, etc.) do not make any sudden movements. Instead, communicate with the officer about where the item is located in your car and ask for permission to reach for it.
7. Keep the conversation and words to a minimum
Remember, anything incriminating you may say can be used against you in court. The best rule of thumb is to only speak when spoken to. Limit your answers to “yes”, “no”, and “I don’t know” whenever possible. Refrain from giving excuses or disagreeing with the police officer, as this will only escalate the traffic stop.
8. Avoid admitting to anything
For instance, if the officer says you were going 65 mph in a 55 mph zone, a simple “I see” or "OK" is sufficient. This statement shows that you heard what the police officer said without self-incrimination.
9. Be polite
Just because you should not say much, does not mean you cannot be polite and use manners. You should say “please” and “thank you” if the situation warrants, smile, and wish the officer a good day when the traffic stop is over.
10. After the traffic stop is over, write down what happened
At a minimum, you should note the date, time, location, officer’s name and badge number, and what the weather was like. These notes will come in handy if you choose to fight the ticket.
Fight Your Ticket with the Help of a Dedicated Attorney
Do not simply toss a ticket in your glove box or under the seat; the charge will not go away! At the same time, do not pay a ticket if you feel you have been wrongly accused because it seems simpler than fighting it. Whenever you are pulled over and given a Minnesota traffic ticket, call one of the skilled attorneys at BK Law Group to help deal with your situation.