Fairfax Traffic Stops

Fairfax traffic stops are typically quick and efficient. Someone should expect the officer to ask for their license and registration, to take it back to their police vehicle and then come back after they have run the information into the system, and give the driver either a traffic ticket or a warning.  It doesn’t usually take more than five to ten minutes, and drivers are free to leave immediately after. With that said, there are a number of mistakes that drivers could make turning a quick relatively minor offense into something more serious. For this reason, the following is information on what you should do if pulled over by the police.

Call a Fairfax traffic lawyer who can answer any questions you may have, and can protect your rights.

Initial Stops in Fairfax

If someone sees a police car with sirens on in their rear view mirror, they should begin looking for a safe place to pull over as soon as possible.Generally, this is on the shoulder on the right side of the road.  If there is no shoulder, the driver should pull over wherever they can that is safe. If it is unsafe for to pull over immediately, then they should put your hazards on to signal to the officer that they see them, and are just finding a safe place to pull over.

Then, the driver should stay in their car and wait for the officer to stop and exit the police car. When the officer approaches their car, the driver should stay calm and keep their hands visible. They should put down the window to answer the officer’s questions about registration, insurance, and identity. They can politely decline to answer questions about where they were going or the speed they were driving.

Being Pulled Over At Night

If someone is pulled over at night especially if they are a woman, there are a lot of safety concerns that come with pulling over on the side of the road in the dark.  Police officers are generally okay with somebody pulling over into a more populated area such as a gas station or an area with a lot of people or lights on it. However, if they are going to do that, they should signal to the police officer by turning their hazards on so that the officer is aware that the driver has acknowledged them and is looking for a place to stop.

With nighttime Fairfax, VAtraffic stops,  the issue is light and darkness so the driver should find an area that is well-lit on the shoulder at the side of the road or in a nearby parking lot or apartment complex. The driver should find a safe place as quickly as possible.

When someone is pulled over, they should only open their window when the officer approaches them for of their own safety and for the officer to not misunderstand what the person is trying to do. Many people do not know how traffic stops happen and might lean out of the windows or open the door and get out of the car until the officer comes to their to ask questions. During a nighttime traffic stop, the driver should wait until the officer tells them to turn off the car.

A person does not have to turn on the in-car light. They can if they want to, but they do not have to. The idea is to provide no reason for the officer to suspect anything wrong. When the area is not well-lit, the person can put the lights on to make it easy for the officer to avoid misunderstanding what is going on.

When the officer asks someone for their registration and driver’s license, the person should tell them it is in the glove box or in their purse and they are going to take it out. There is a safety concern with the officers especially at night; they want to be able to see and understand what a person is doing. A law enforcement officer does not want to see someone leaning over the seat to grab something or make a sudden move.

What Takes Place During The Stop

During daytime Fairfax traffic stops, the first thing a person should do is roll down their window at least enough to be able to speak and pass documents.  Generally, officers prefer if they roll it down all the way, but this is not a requirement. If the driver’s radio is turned on, they should turn it down or turn it off so that it is not a distraction.  They should definitely keep their hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them. They need to keep in mind that officers do not know who the driver is or anything about them and their primary concern is for their own personal safety.

The driver does not want to do anything that may compromise the officer’s safety and/or cause the officer to be alarmed or have any reason to fear that someone might be doing something threatening.  Therefore, it is imperative that they do not make any sudden movements or reach into any areas quickly or suddenly without asking the officer’s permission, first and telling the officer what the are doing.  If you ask any question, you should do so only after the officer has asked you questions and told you that it’s okay for you to ask questions. The best thing to do is really just let them speak and say what they need to say so that they understand that you’re giving them control of the situation.

The driver does not have to answer any questions about the stop if they do not want to, but they should be polite and cooperative throughout the whole interaction. When the officer asks for license and registration, then at this point, a person can take their hands off the steering wheel and grab their license and registration from the glove box or wherever they have it.  An individual should not turn their car off just in case they are driving an older car or something goes wrong and then the car does not start so that the driver is not stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck with the police officer.

What a Fairfax Officer is Likely To Ask

When the officer approaches the vehicle, they ask some questions to ascertain if the driver knew or will admit that did something wrong. They might ask the person if they knew they were driving too fast, how fast they thought they were driving, or their reason for not stopping at a stop sign. They need to ask questions to get the driver to admit to something because that makes their job easier. The officer asks for the person’s registration and their license, and may ask if the person was drinking, is tired, or is in a rush when they suspect the driver was speeding. The officer takes the person’s registration and identification and returns to the police car to run searches for outstanding warrants and verify the person’s identity. The officer then decides whether to issue a summons.

The best thing to do during Fairfax traffic stops is to not answer these types of questions while also making sure that you stay polite and cooperative throughout the whole interaction. You do not have anything to lose by being polite and cooperative, but you run the risk of the officer telling the judge exactly how uncooperative and rude you were in court if you do otherwise. Once you give the officer all of your documents, the officer generally will take this information back to their police vehicle and he will run your information through the system.

If you have been pulled over for a Fairfax traffic stop, or you want to know more about Virginia traffic stops, get in touch with a skilled traffic attorney today.