While most of us do practice safe driving, there are times where we might get pulled over randomly or for reasons that we never expected. Some police officers might get a hunch and pull people over occasionally, or you might have a broken light that you weren’t aware of.
While many interactions with the police are positive (assuming you’re not exacerbating the situation) there might be times where you’re concerned or even worried. It’s important to calm down and to approach the situation carefully, especially if you have actually committed an offence. Here’s what you should expect if you’re ever pulled over while driving.
Why Would Police Pull You Over in the First Place?
There are many reasons why police might pull you over. It’s usually down to offences that you may have caused, but the can ultimately do it for any reason as long as they have reasonable suspicion that you could be up to something bad. This idea alone can be really off-putting for people. But in general, there are a couple of minor offences that might cause a police officer to pull you over. For example:
- If they see that you or a passenger in your car isn’t wearing a seatbelt
- If you’re caught driving a little over the speed limit
- If you’re seen driving too close to the vehicle in front of you (tailgating)
- If you’re seen using your mobile phone while driving (distracted driving)
- If you use the lanes improperly such as switching lanes too fast or using the wrong lanes
These are some of the most common minor offences that you might be pulled over for. If you do any of these things and there’s a police officer in the vicinity, then there’s a good chance that they’ll turn on their siren and chase you down. If you know you’ve committed a minor offence, then you should pull over immediately and act politely when the officer approaches your car. In most cases, you’ll get off with a warning and that’ll be it.
However, if you’re rude, disrespectful or have actually committed a serious offence, it could go further and you may need to hire a lawyer if you’re taken in. For example, if you’re caught driving under the influence or seen speeding away from a traffic offence or accident, then the office will be a little more adamant in chasing you down. In a case like this, you should always pull over immediately and safely and just accept the punishment. It’s no reason to start a chase and potentially cause an accident.
What Are the Consequences of a First-Time Offence?
Depending on the offence, you may be brought to your nearest police station and you’ll be booked. This means your mugshot and fingerprints might be taken, especially if it’s serious. You may be asked to appear in court and you may want to consider bail bonds if you’re allowed to post bail. This means you can be released immediately, but you might still need to appear in court depending on your situation.
It can be particularly stressful if you have committed a serious offence. While most minor offences just result in a warning, a serious one could lead to jail time and a suspension of your license. In some cases, you may need to undergo an alcohol and drug education program if you were caught driving under the influence. You’ll have to attend several hours of drunk driving prevention classes and you could even be asked to pay for them.
Practice Safe Driving to Avoid Getting Pulled Over in the First Place
It’s always a good idea to practice safe driving tips to help you avoid getting noticed by the police. Simple things such as maintaining a safe distance between cars, wearing a seatbelt, and not looking at your phone will make you see far less threatening. This leads to fewer encounters with the police and a lower chance that you’ll commit an offence.
If there is ever a situation where you are pulled over, then treating the officer with respect will defuse the situation quickly and you’ll be on your way. Even if you’re annoyed at the officer or are having a bad day, act as courteously as you can and you’ll avoid any further escalation. While this can seem a little degrading for some people, it’s arguably the best way to just avoid further interactions with the police so you can escape the situation and get on with your life.