You are a law-abiding citizen who does not get into trouble (at least any serious trouble. Therefore, you are likely nervous when you are stopped on the road by a police officer. You may not know what to do or what can happen to you. As a New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer, I want you to be prepared. So here are some things to keep in mind should this ever happen to you.

Mistakes to Avoid When You Are Pulled Over by the Police in New Jersey

As you think of everything you should do to protect your rights, avoiding mistakes is equally as important. Accordingly, we encourage you:

1. Not to Panic

Chances are, you were just speeding, didn’t signal a lane change, or didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign or light. In other words, it’s most likely no biggie. If the police officer appears stern and unsmiling, that is just because they are on high alert. One of the two biggest threats to their safety (believe it or not) is a motor vehicle stop. You are not the threat, so don’t take it personally. Stay calm, remember these tips, and you should be fine.

2. Don't Fail to Pull Over

If it is clear that those flashing lights and sirens apply to you, then pull over at the earliest, safest opportunity. If they don’t apply to you, then the patrol car will pass you by. If you don’t pull over promptly, the officer may write you for “Eluding,” which is a serious charge.

3. Not to Be Rude

The officer is just doing their job, so be polite and cooperative. Provide your license, registration, and insurance. If you think the officer was wrong to give you a ticket, do not argue. That is for a courtroom in front of a judge. Just accept the ticket(s) and say thank you. Being nice can go a long way when you do get to court.

4. Not to Talk Too Much

The officer may well ask you questions that are designed to elicit incriminating answers, like, “Have you been drinking?” or “Did you see that stop sign back there?” You do not have to answer those questions under the Fifth Amendment, so don’t do it. State that you assert your Fifth Amendment rights or want a lawyer. If the officer says that the Fifth Amendment does not apply because you are not in custody, ask him if you are free to leave. If he says no, you are in custody. If he says yes, then tell him you are leaving and do so!

5. Not to Let the Officer Search Your Car

The rules about searching a car without a warrant are becoming tougher for the police, so they may want you to make their job easier by having you consent to the search. Do not do it! They need probable cause to conduct a search, and if they do not have it, anything they do find in a search (if you do not consent) will be thrown out. If asked, tell him that you are standing on your Fourth Amendment rights and do not consent to a search.

Knowing what to do and what not to do can make things much easier for you if you are ever stopped. Be sure to keep these in mind should it happen to you.

Steven J. Richardson
Connect with me
Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.