Chances are a police officer will pull you over in the course of your driving life. Chances are, too, that you are among the majority who are generally law-abiding citizens. Not everyone wants to end up on Cops. Here are some simple tips of what not to do if you get pulled over by a police officer.
1. Move Before Simon Says
Unless you really enjoy a loaded gun pointed at you and a police officer authorized by law to pull that trigger, you might as well wait until (s)he asks you to do anything. Want to get a quick reaction? Get out of your car and walk toward the patrol car.
Even if we have never been pulled over, everyone knows when you’re pulled over you will have to show the police officer your license and registration (and in most states a proof of insurance). Don’t reach for the glove box. You’re already going to be late to wherever you’re going. Hang tight. Wait until the officer asks for your information. Tell the officer where it is before you start reaching.
2. Tell a White Lie
You drive up to a DUI checkpoint and the police officer asks if you’ve had anything to drink tonight. Well, what about that beer you had with lunch an hour ago? Still want to tell the police officer the truth? You should. Most states allow for some alcohol levels in your blood. No one is going to cart you off to prison for that session beer you had with your burger an hour ago. But the office will wonder why (s)he smells beer on your breath but you say you have not drunk anything.
Besides, the police officer is trained to notice shifty eyes and nervous ticks we do when we lie. Unless you want to have to answer why you lied about drinking and the officer thinking you drank one too many, stick with the truth.
3. Argue Out of that Ticket
Want to ensure you get a ticket with a hefty fine attached when you get pulled over? Argue with the police officer over the details.
Slowing down does not mean stopping. Stopping for a millisecond does not mean stopping. Don’t explain semantics to the officer. Provided you were not pulled over for ‘running a stop sign’ a dozen times already, chances are good you will only receive a warning. Anger the officer and you can guarantee an angry response.
Apparently, not everyone with a television has seen any episode from one of the last 21 seasons of Cops. Police officers are trained in how to maneuver their vehicles and how to drive during car chases. Unless you are Jeff Gordon, the only training you will get is during the pursuit. Add in a dash of nervousness (and since you’re running you are probably also intoxicated) and your odds of successfully ‘losing the cops’ diminishes significantly.
5. Get Nervous and Fidgety
Lets face it, we all get nervous when we get pulled over. It seems a natural reaction. Either you know you did something wrong and you’re worried about getting an expensive ticket for your indiscretion, or you have no idea why you got pulled over and you’re worried the police officer is about to accuse you of being Charles Manson.
Cops can tell the difference between being nervous because you’re human and being nervous because you have a dead body in the trunk, usually.
Case in point: I had just moved to the West. Ninteen years old. Two o’clock in the morning and I get pulled over for running a red light. I noticed my mistake as soon as I blew through the intersection. I didn’t mean to. I was not in a hurry. It just happened. Sure enough, an officer happened to be waiting for me.
He asked if I knew why he pulled me over. Yup, I said, I wasn’t paying attention and ran that red light. I’m already busted, no point in lying now (#2). Then he asked if I had been drinking. No, I responded, I hadn’t. Why are you so nervous, he asked. It was true, I was sweating bullets. I explained that I had never done anything so stupid, and, quite frankly, at 2 AM, if a teen is pulled over by a cop in my old hometown, the cop usually has his way with the teen.
After checking my license and asking why I moved to Colorado, he chuckled and said that that’s not how cops act ‘out here’, gave me my warning, and I was on my way.
We will all get pulled over eventually, and most of us will get nervous. Don’t do the above things and chances are the officer will not club you or haul you off to prison. However, if you’re looking for a free meal and a new cellmate friendship, I suggest any of these five things.