Traffic Stop Tips
Proper Protocol to Handle Being Pulled Over
- Move your vehicle as far out of the lane of traffic as possible. Stay in your vehicle and turn on the interior light. Good lighting assists in good communication. Relax and remain in your vehicle. If you leave the vehicle you subject yourself and the officer to danger.
- Keep your hands in view at all times, preferably on the steering wheel. Wait for the officer to request your license and registration.
- Police officers are trained to ask for identification first and provide an explanation second. Next, give the officer a chance to explain why you were stopped. Providing your documentation will speed the process. Remember, in most cases the officer is in uniform, displaying a badge and name tag. You have the advantage of knowing with whom you are dealing, extend the courtesy by presenting the requested paperwork without an argument. It makes sense and it is the law.
- Do not argue the citation with the officer. If you think that the citation was wrongly issued the proper procedure is to request a hearing through the district court.
- Moving violations are the most common reason that vehicles are stopped for. Some examples include speeding offenses, failure to stop at a stop sign or stop light, failure to use a signal, or failure to drive within the marked lines.
- License, registration, or equipment violations are other reasons a vehicle may be stopped by an officer. It is not uncommon for a driver to be in violation of the law without knowing it. Massachusetts motor vehicle laws are long and complex. Depending on the circumstances, officers may arrest an operator, issue criminal or non-criminal citations or give a warning for these violations.
- Investigations often involve searching for a car in association with a crime. In today's mobile society criminals use cars to facilitate crimes. Your vehicle may match the description of a suspect's vehicle.
- Courtesy or safety concerns are other reasons an officer might stop your car. For instance, your trunk may be open, something may be hanging under your vehicle or you may have left something on your roof.