DUI Attorney Blog - Traffic Infractions 

What Should I do if Pulled Over for a Traffice Infraction of a Criminal Traffic Violation (DUI)?

1. Make sure you pull over correctly and safely.

The law requires drivers to pull over onto the right shoulder in response to a police officer's lights. Do not pull over on the left shoulder. If you do, the police officer can order you to move your vehicle to the correct side. The officer can also give you a traffic ticket for pulling onto the wrong shoulder. Minimize danger to the police officer by pulling safely off the roadway as far as possible on the right shoulder.

2. Keep all of your necessary documents organized and available.

It does not matter who you are, when pulled over, all drivers get nervous. To help yourself, keep all documents accessible to alleviate your nerves. Keep your license, registration, and proof of insurance near enough that you will not have to exit the vehicle. This will help your interaction with the officer go smoothly. An officer is more likely to give you a break if you quickly provide all of the right documents.

Do not forget to ensure you have all these correct documents in your car. Renewed your driver's license. Check if your vehicle tabs are expired. Is your Vehicle Registration signed? Many people forget to have these tasks up-to-date and more consequences can result from these mistakes. Finally, do you have your insurance card, and is it expired? Hundreds of 'No Proof of Insurance' traffic tickets, if not thousands, are issued in Washington State each year simply because drivers forget to keep proof of insurance in their car.

3. Put the law enforcement officer at ease.

An officer faces the prospect of danger during every routine traffic stop so, do your part to make the officer feel safe. Keep your hands in sight so the officer can see them. Do not make any strange or sudden movements. Including reaching for your documents until instructed. When pulled over at night or in bad weather turn on your interior light so the officer can easily see what you are doing and that you do not have any weapons.

4. Be polite and respectful.

Generally, police officers are regular people who want to make it home safe from work. When an officer pulls you over they know very little about you. Their job is, by its nature, high risk. Put the officer at ease by being polite and cooperative. The more respect you show them, the better your conversation will be. Further, the more respect you demonstrate, the greater chance you have for getting a warning or a ticket written for a lesser infraction.

Even if you encounter a police officer who you feel is rude or disrespectful, the rules for you remain the same. It may not be easy, but you must maintain a polite demeanor to end the interaction quickly. Under no circumstances should you argue with an officer or ask to see the radar reading. Arguing with a police officer will not only get you nowhere, it could make things much worse for you.

5. The less you say, the better.

Do not try to talk your way out of a ticket or plead your case. While being as polite and respectful as you can be, say as little as possible. Chances are, anything you say will be written by the officer in his police report. It may be offered as evidence against you in a contested hearing. Further, if you make an admission, it may limit what your traffic attorney can do with regard to your traffic ticket in court.

You have a duty to identify yourself and provide your license, registration and proof of insurance. Beyond that, you do not have an obligation to say anything to a police officer. One of the first questions police officers ask is: 'Do you know why I pulled you over? Or, 'Do you know how fast you were going?' The best way to answer to that question, is to say, 'I'm sorry officer, I don't know'. You've been polite, you've answered the question, and you've said nothing incriminating. If the officer continues to question you, continue to answer the same way.

6. Do not make any admissions.

Under no circumstances should you tell a police officer what you thought you did wrong or how fast you were going. First of all, you do not know why the officer pulled you over. Even if you suspect you know what you did something wrong, your statements are evidence that can be presented against you in court.

7. If you make admissions, an attorney can still fight your traffic ticket.

If you believe you've given an officer incriminating information (such as admitting to an officer that you were speeding), it is still worth hiring an attorney to fight your traffic ticket. Attorney Nick George is used to seeing traffic tickets containing incriminating statements made by his clients. He knows how to best deal with those statements, and how to get a traffic ticket dismissed despite them.