What to Expect at a Fairfax Traffic Stop

When a person is faced with a traffic stop, it is important to contact a Fairfax reckless driving attorney to ensure that they receive the best defense possible for their case. Additionally, if they contact an attorney before they experience a traffic stop, the attorney can explain what to expect at a Fairfax traffic stop and can give advice on what to do.

The Initial Stop

Generally speaking, a person should expect that a police officer will go ahead and activate his or her lights and pull them over. Once they pull over on the road, the officer will expect them to turn off their vehicle. If they don’t, the officer will ask them to do so when they first approach the vehicle.

The officer will then walk up to the driver’s side, unless it’s an unsafe area, in which case they would go ahead and approach the car on the passenger side. The officer will ask the person to roll down their window a little bit and will ask for the person’s driver’s license, for their registration of the vehicle, and for proof of insurance, which is required in Fairfax in order to drive on the road. At that point, the officer would probably go back and process it or tell the person how fast they were going if they were being pulled over for speeding.

The officer might ask some questions about where they were going or what they were doing. Once a person provides the standard information to the officer, however, they don’t have to answer any other questions. In a standard stop, a person can expect the officer to ask them general questions, and then from there, either proceed by giving the person a ticket or by asking them questions in relation to another crime that they suspect the person of.

If There Is No Shoulder

If there is no shoulder, they should pull off as soon as they can in a safe location. It is very important that a person ensures that they are pulling over in a place that is safe for them and that they are not just stopping in the middle of the road. Also, they should make sure that they do it as quickly as they can so that the officer does not think that they are trying to elude or escape them.

For a person to show the officer that they are trying to pull over safely, they can put on their turn signal. Additionally, a person can call 112 or 911 and say that they are trying to find a safe space to pull over and that they are not trying to elude the police.

After Pulling Over

If a person is pulled over during a daytime stop, they can turn off their vehicle or leave it on, although the officer may ask for them to turn it off. The person should have their license, registration, and proof of insurance ready. If it is in their glove box and the officer has already approached their window, they should not lean over until the officer tells them to do so.

They should also make sure that their hands are in a clear and visible position, such as on the steering wheel. By doing so, the officer can easily see the person’s hands as they approach the window and it shows the officer that the person is not in a position to grab a weapon or threaten the officer. Additionally, they should make sure they specify that they are getting their information from their glove box and that they are going to reach over and retrieve it. It is important to give the officer an indication of what they are doing so the officer doesn’t think that there’s a sticky situation at hand.

After a person gives the officer their insurance, license, and registration, the officer may go back to their vehicle and run the information with their system to make sure that there aren’t any warrants out for the person’s arrest or to make sure that there is nothing that they need to be worried about. At that point, the officer could come back and attempt to ask more questions and ask to search the vehicle. Usually, though, if it’s just a typical stop, the officer will take the information, run it, write a ticket, and the person should be on their way.

Speaking with the Officer

A person should definitely make sure that they are not providing more information to the officer than they need to. They should provide the officer with their name, ID, proof of insurance, and registration when the officer asks for it, but they certainly do not need to speak with the officer about where they were going, what they were doing, or the like.

The officer will likely ask questions, such as if a person knows that they were speeding. In this case, it is not helpful for a person to admit that they were speeding and they certainly should not have to answer the question if it makes them feel uncomfortable. A person can then say do not feel comfortable answering any questions and that they would like to speak with an attorney.

A person has the option to ask the officer questions, as well. If they are pulled over, they can ask the officer why they were pulled over. They can also ask the officer if they calculated the speed based on radar or Lidar, what speed they were going, and to see the radar/Lidar reading. The officer should allow the person to view it, but it’s not something that would preclude the officer from introducing that in court if they don’t allow the person to see it. A person can also ask if they are under arrest or if they are free to go after the ticket is written.

What to Avoid

During a daytime stop, a person should not get out of the vehicle unless the officer specifically asks them to do so. When a person voluntarily exits their vehicle, it can make an officer uncomfortable or unsafe. Therefore, a person should sit in their vehicle and make sure that their hands are in a place where the officer can see them.

Also, during a daytime stop, a person should not voluntarily allow an officer to search their vehicle. A person should avoid answering questions or making statements to an officer unless it is about their identity, insurance, or registration. If the officer is trying to ask the person any other questions, especially if it seems like the officer is questioning and investigating to see if there is a different crime or any crime going on, the person should say that they do not feel comfortable answering questions before speaking with an attorney, and that they are exercising their right to stay silent.

Night-Time Stops

Once a person is pulled over during a nighttime stop, they should be careful to make sure that the officer knows what the person is doing at all times. It is important to ensure that the officer doesn’t think that they are going to try to cause any kind of disruption. Therefore, a person should make that the officer can see their hands.

Additionally, a person should definitely be aware of their surroundings and aware of what the officer is attempting to do or attempting to ask, especially if it’s late at night and the officer is saying the person looks tired and asking if they have been drinking. A person should not answer any questions that the officer is attempting to ask them, and instead tell the office that they do not want to answer any questions and would like to speak with their attorney.

A person can turn on their in-car light if it makes them feel more comfortable, but it is not something that they have to do. If the in-car light is on, however, the officer will have a clear view inside the car, including any contrabands that could potentially be in the car.

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