What to Expect at a Virginia Reckless Driving Traffic Stop
A traffic stop can be a nerve-wracking experience especially for those unfamiliar with the typical process of a stop. With this in mind, the following is what you should expect if pulled over by law enforcement and how you should react in order to keep your situation from getting any worse. To learn more or to begin building a defense for your charge, call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia reckless driving attorney.
The Initial Stop
If an officer is signaling for you to stop, you should safely pull over to the right side of the road as soon as possible. If it’s not possible for you to pull over immediately in a safe manner, then you should put on your hazards so that the officer is aware that you have seen him and are just trying to find the next available space for you to pull over.
If you are pulled over and there is no shoulder, then you should put your hazards on immediately and wait for a shoulder to open up or pull over in the next safest place there is to pull over. This could be an exit or you might have to be driving for a while. As long as the officer knows that you’re looking for a place to pull over because you turned on your hazards, you should be fine.
After Pulling Over
During a daytime stop, if you’re pulled over you should roll down your window and turn off your radio. You should keep your hands where the officer can see them on the steering wheel. You need to keep in mind that the officer doesn’t know you and they’re concerned about their own safety so you need to avoid doing anything that may be perceived as a threat to the officer.
This includes anything like sudden movements or reaching into areas that the officer can’t see without telling him what you’re doing. It’s best to just keep your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer to instruct you on what to do. If the officer asks you any questions related to why you were stopped or about your diving then you should say you would rather not answer any questions, but you do wish to cooperate. When the officer asks you for your license and registration, then at that point, you should grab it from the glove box.
Interacting With Law Enforcement
When the officer approaches your vehicle, generally they’ll ask you for your license and registration. They might ask questions regarding the reason for the stop. However, it is not required that these questions be answered, but you are required to give them your license and registration. With this in mind, the best thing to do is just to answer politely by telling the officer that you don’t wish to answer those types of questions but you want to remain cooperative.
If the officer asks if you knew you were speeding, you should definitely not admit that you knew you were speeding. This is an admission of guilt, which reduces the possible defenses available to you in court. You should also never step out of your vehicle unless the officer has specifically asked you to do so, and always keep your hands where the officer can see them. The best place is on the steering wheel.
At this point, the officer will take the documents that you’ve given him and will go back to his police cruiser for a brief period. He will then return to your vehicle and ask you to sign the ticket or he will let you off with a warning if you got lucky.
There’s not anything that you are required to ask the officer or really should ask the officer. It’s best if you just remain quiet and cooperative so that the stop can be over as quickly as possible. However, it is okay to ask why you were pulled over if you’re not sure. But it’s important to not argue with the officer even if you don’t agree.
Being Pulled Over By An Unmarked Vehicle
If you’re pulled over by an unmarked vehicle, and the officer is in plain clothes, you may ask to see a badge. You are completely within your rights to do so. If you’re still not sure, as it’s very possible that you don’t know what a real badge could look like, you could call the non-emergency number and ask them if there is actually an officer in your area that has pulled you over at that time so that you can verify that who is pulling you over is, in fact, a legitimate police officer.