Nobody driving through Dallas likes to get pulled over by local law enforcement. But it’s going to happen eventually. And how you act can mean the difference between getting a verbal warning and getting hauled off to jail.
So, what are you supposed to do if you get pulled over by law enforcement in Dallas? Keep reading to discover the answer!
Pull Over Safely and Quickly
When you first see the lights and hear the siren, you may be confused about who they are after. But once you verify they want you to pull over, you need to pull over safely but quickly.
Some drivers worry that pulling over quickly is like an admission of guilt. Actually, the opposite is true: you will look far guiltier if it appears you are trying to run away from the cops!
Above all, be nice and safe while you pull over. Use your turn signal and apply brakes gently. This may be your last chance to convince the officer you are a safe driver and keep your record clean.
Presenting Your ID and Insurance Information
The most common thing the police ask for after you pull over is your license and registration. In other words, they want to know you are legally licensed to drive and are following the minimum car insurance requirements for the great state of Texas.
Make sure to stay on top of your Dallas auto insurance. Put new cards in your glove compartment when you get the chance, and don’t forget to put the latest insurance stickers on your license plate!
Turn Off the Engine and Get Ready to Talk
What should you do after you pull over? While not required, it’s good to turn off your ignition to show the officer you aren’t trying to go anywhere. And you may want to put your hands on the steering wheel; while this is also not required, it helps show law enforcement that you don’t pose any danger to them.
Aside from those things, you should take this time to prepare for a conversation with the police officer. Try to get rid of any cigarettes, gum, or anything that would make it look like you aren’t taking this entire event seriously.
What If the Officer Wants To Search the Car?
Even when you aren’t traveling with anything illegal, you might be nervous about the police officer wanting to search the car. And that brings us to a good question: does the officer have the right to search your vehicle simply because they want to?
Generally speaking, officers cannot search your vehicle for any reason after pulling you over for a traffic violation. In other words, the fact that you might have been speeding does not immediately give law enforcement a chance to search for things like drugs.
However, certain things may give officers that right. For example, if you made any sudden movements after they pulled you over, they can search your car because it looked like you were hiding drugs. And if you have anything in plain sight in the car (such as open beer bottles or joints), they can search the vehicle.
A less common occurrence may happen if your car has to be towed away by the police. At this point, they are allowed to do an inventory search to look for any illegal contraband inside.
What To Say (And Not To Say)
Talking with law enforcement after you get pulled over is a tricky thing. After all, what you say can land you in some serious hot water. But in some cases, saying too much can also get you into trouble.
Generally speaking, you should be courteous and respectful at all times. If you get angry and mouth off at an officer, you are almost guaranteed to drive home with an expensive ticket that will increase your car insurance rates.
Beyond that, your best bet is to let the officer do most of the talking. This will likely consist of simple questions. Try to give simple answers that are to the point so that you don’t sound rambling or defensive.
This hopefully won’t be an issue during a routine stop, but never forget that your “right to remain silent” is very real. If you are worried that what you say may sound incriminating, you can simply tell the officer in question that you don’t want to say anything else without your lawyer present.
What To Do If You Have To Get Out of The Car
The vast majority of the time, you will only need to stay in the car when you are pulled over. But in very rare cases, you may be required to get out of the vehicle.
Basically, if the officer asks you to get out of the car, you should do so immediately without making any sudden movements. At this point, the officer is allowed to pat you down and retrieve anything that seems like it may be a weapon or contraband.
If the officer wishes to administer a sobriety test, you should comply with his questions. You can legally refuse to take the test, but you are likely to be arrested on suspicion of DWI. In either case, you need to be polite and respectful towards the officer, but remember that you do not have to give any incriminating evidence. This includes not giving them access to your cellphone.
Protect Yourself and Your Car Today
Our guide will help you protect yourself when you get pulled over by law enforcement in Dallas. But to enjoy protection all year round, you need to get some good car insurance. Luckily, Baja Auto Insurance is here to help you compare, find, and buy the right policy for you.