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What should you do if you’re pulled over?

If you see police lights in your rearview mirror, you can expect your stomach to drop and your hands to sweat. This is a nerve-racking experience, even if you've been in this position in the past.

Knowing what to do when pulled over by police can help you prevent trouble, while protecting your legal rights. Here are five steps to take:

  • Immediately pull over: Even if the officer isn't coming after you, it's important to pull to the side of the road once you see police lights. If you continue to drive, the officer may get the impression that you're trying to escape.
  • Roll down your window: As the officer approaches your vehicle, stay where you are and roll down your window so you can communicate. Keep your hands on the wheel and follow instructions.
  • Provide the officer with the requested documents: This typically includes license, registration and proof of insurance. Knowing in advance where these documents are located will speed up the process.
  • Don't lie: It's okay to say that you don't know what you did wrong, but don't concoct a story about why you broke the law. Most officers have heard every story under the sun, so lying will only make things worse.
  • Ask questions: Don't hesitate to ask questions to clarify the charges and understand your legal rights. As long as you remain respectful, it's okay to ask any questions that are on your mind.

What's next?

If the officer lets you off with a warning, carefully pull away from the scene. Conversely, if you receive a ticket, you'll want to review it in great depth as soon as possible.

You may assume it's best to sign and pay the ticket as soon as possible. There are times when this is okay, but not always. Remember, paying a ticket is the same as admitting guilt, so it can affect you in many ways. For example, a moving violation can increase your insurance premium.

If you're interested in fighting your traffic ticket, learn more about the many defense strategies you can use to protect your legal rights. You may be able to implement a plan that helps you escape all punishment, or lessen the impact on your life.

Visit our website for more information on how to fight a traffic ticket in court.

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