Reckless Driving Traffic Stops in Fairfax

Traffic stops in Virginia will often follow a predictable pattern. With this in mind, it is good to know what to expect at a Fairfax traffic stop, and if you are pulled over to consult with a local reckless driving attorney who can help you handle any citation or charges.

The Initial Stop

Sirens in the rearview mirror typically mean that someone is being pulled over by a police officer. Therefore, if someone sees sirens in their rearview mirror, they should safely pull over to the right side of the road as soon as possible.

If they cannot pull over immediately in a safe manner, they should turn their hazards on to signal to the officer that they are planning on pulling over and have seen him. They should then find the next available safe place to pull over. If someone is pulled over at night, the only difference may be in what would be considered a safe place to pull over. It may be wise to find someplace well lit, such as a gas station.

After Pulling Over

After being pulled over, a driver should roll down their window and turn off their radio or anything making noise. They should keep their hands where the officer can see them. The best place is on the steering wheel. The driver should avoid doing anything that will make the officer concerned for their own safety. The driver shouldn’t reach anywhere that the officer can’t see or make any sudden movements or do anything that may be deemed suspicious. They should wait for the officer to speak with them and tell them what they are being charged with and what he needs from them. Typically, a police officer will ask for the driver’s license and registration, at which point the driver can tell him that they need to reach into their glove box  in order to retrieve this.

If the officer asks the driver any questions as to why they think they were stopped or about their driving, the driver should say they would rather not answer any questions, but that they wish to be cooperative. They should not turn their car off, because if their car were not to start afterwards they would be stuck on the side of the road with the police officer waiting for a tow truck.

If this happens at night, it is smart to turn on the interior lights of the vehicle.

When the Officer Approaches the Vehicle

Generally, once the officer approaches the vehicle, he will ask for the driver’s license and registration every time. Sometimes, he will ask the driver questions related to why he pulled them over such as, “Do you know why I pulled you over,” or, “How fast were you going,” or anything related to the reason a person was pulled over for. Those types of questions do not have to be answered. It is important for the driver to stay polite and cooperative throughout the whole interaction so that their behavior isn’t used against them in court later. Judges hate hearing that drivers made the officer’s job more difficult. This typically won’t go well for them in terms of sentencing later on.

Giving Insurance, License, and Registration

After the officer has received the appropriate documents, such as license and registration, the officer will take this information back to his vehicle typically for a brief period of time. He will then return to the driver’s vehicle shortly after and ask them to sign the ticket. Or sometimes, he will issue a warning and send the driver on their way.

It is okay for the driver to ask the officer to explain why they were pulled over. Oftentimes, the officer won’t be in the mood for many explanations, however, so it is often better to remain polite and cooperative and let the officers speak and only answer his questions when required to.

Things to Look For on a Ticket

There is nothing on the ticket that the driver should immediately look for on the stop. Sometimes they may want to know what exactly they are being charged with but it doesn’t make a difference whether they read it at the stop or look at the ticket later. It’s better to just look at it later because the driver doesn’t want to sit in their car holding up traffic, with the officer waiting there as well.

Biggest Mistakes to Avoid During a Traffic Stop

The biggest mistake to avoid during a traffic stop is upsetting the officer in any way. It will likely affect his testimony in court as well. A driver should also avoid incriminating himself by admitting to anything. It’s best for the driver not answer the officer’s questions regarding their actions that led to them being pulled over. It’s better to just remain polite and cooperative.

The only reason a driver should ever exit the vehicle is if the officer asked them to. If the driver exits their vehicle just to go speak with the officer, this is probably going to alarm him or upset him and can be very detrimental to the driver’s situation.

If pulled over by an unmarked car, the driver can ask the officer to see his badge or the driver can call dispatch to see if there is an officer at that current location. This is really the best thing they can do because if it’s not a real officer, they will send a real officer.