How to Interact With The Police When You're Pulled Over or Stopped on the Street---Part Two
Now that you've confirmed that the person who pulled you over is in fact a police officer, what are some dos and donts of interacting with the police?
SCENARIO TWO: HOW TO INTERACT WITH POLICE AFTER A STOPGetting pulled over can be a very stressful situation even if you haven*t done anything wrong. There is something unsettling about a police officer pulling you over or stopping you on the street. Even someone who hasn*t done anything legally wrong can feel a sudden sense of fear or discomfort.
The question that I often encounter from clients, friends and family is *what do I do if I*m pulled over or stopped by a police officer?* *How do I interact with the police officer?*
I will be doing a series of articles on various situations that you may encounter and how you may deal with those situations so that you*re educated about the dos and donts of police interactions and what the law says about your legal rights. Moreover, I not only want you to know your rights, I want your interactions with police to be less stressful so that you feel safe, the officer feels safe and everyone can get home to their loved ones as quickly as possible. And if there is an arrest, I want to educate you about what you can do in those situations as well.
SCENARIO TWO: HOW TO INTERACT WITH A POLICE OFFICER AFTER A STOP
Ok so now you*ve confirmed that the person who just pulled you over is in fact a real police officer. What do you do next?
At some point, the officer is going to approach your vehicle and attempt to conduct a roadside investigation. But before pulling you over, while the officer is observing you, if he sees any violation of law, he may stop your vehicle. This can be any violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law (*VTL) (equipment violation, tints that are too dark, failure maintain a steady lane, speeding, etc*). The Court in People v. Robinson, 97 N.Y.2d 341, 741 N.Y.S.2d 147 (2001) allows for a stop of a motor vehicle when the officer has probable cause to believe that a violation of law has occurred.
Once the officer pulls you over, he will eventually approach your vehicle window and ask to see your driver*s license, proof of registration and insurance and possibly proof of inspection if the inspection sticker is expired. It*s always advisable to have those things readily available and obviously up to date. If for some reason you can*t produce any of these items or if they*re expired, here are some things that can happen. (1) If you don*t have a physical license, the officer may charge you with VTL section 509(1), Unlicensed Operator; (2) if you cannot produce proper proof of insurance, a 319(1), uninsured motor vehicle ticket will be issued; (3) failure to produce proof of registration, 401(1)(a), Unregistered Motor Vehicle and (4) 306(b), Un-inspected Motor Vehicle or any other offense that he believes is reasonable under the circumstances. Some tips on how you may handle the situation from this point forward: Obviously, you should always be courteous to law enforcement even if they are not courteous in return.
SCENARIO TWO: HOW TO INTERACT WITH POLICE AFTER A STOPRemember that your safety is of the utmost importance here and even if the officer is being unprofessional in the way he/she is speaking or acting towards you, you never want an officer to feel you are being combative because it could make them nervous. And unfortunately, whether right or wrong, if an officer is nervous, the situation could turn volatile and of course, no one wants that so please be courteous if for no other reason than your safety and the safety of the officer.