What does an Officer expect to see when he pulls us over?

Officers don’t always have a clear view into your vehicle, keep  your hands visible, don’t move around, and don’t reach for anything. For   example, you can keep your hands on the steering wheel in the “ten and two” positions, then relax and wait for the officer to approach and he will give you further instructions. If it is dark please turn your overhead light on.

Why does an officer ask you to roll your window(s) down?

This is for the officer’s safety, to identify if there are any  passengers in the back seat. If your window does not roll down, wait until the officer is at your window and inform them that your window does not roll down and wait for further instructions. Never open your door when the officer is approaching.

What happens if I don’t want to show you my driver’s license or tell you who I am?

The officer can arrest you for failing to show your driver’s license during a traffic stop, remember it is illegal to drive a vehicle in Texas without a driver’s license. In addition, if probable cause exists the officer may also require the passengers of the vehicle to identify themselves as well.

What happens if I don’t have my driver’s license with me, will I be arrested?

An officer can usually confirm if a driver possesses a license after obtaining basic information from you. Depending on local law you may be arrested, but most likely you will only get a citation.

Most of the time an officer will ask you to get out of the car for safety, you would be amazed how many times an officer is struck by another vehicle while conducting a traffic stop.

What if I am a passenger in a stopped car can I ask questions?

Generally, an officer is only going to speak with the driver unless the passenger has done something illegal.

Is forgetting to use my turn signal or going a few miles over the speed limit really a big deal?

Traffic law is all about everyone’s safety, most of the time officers look for traffic violations in areas where there have been accidents, citizen complaints about traffic violations or areas know to be dangerous. When an officer makes a traffic stop it is about getting people to drive safer.

Why should I sign a ticket, I don’t want to look like I agree with it?

Look at the ticket as a personal recognizance bond, you are signing it to say that you will contact the court so that you can be released to go on your way. If you don’t sign the ticket, then you can be arrested and taken to see the Magistrate at the jail.

Okay, I signed the ticket, what happens next?

The law says you have to be given at least ten days to contact the court to state what you plan on doing. You can ask to go to trial, have a judge decide your case, or you can just pay the fine. There are other options you may have that vary from court to court, be sure to ask before the time set on your citation.

A court will have the final say whether or not you violated the law. If you feel the officer was rude or inappropriate please contact that officer’s employing agency, they have investigators that will contact you and thoroughly investigate the complaint. The officer’s body camera or police cruiser dash camera will usually be the beginning point of the investigation. After the department investigates your concern or complaint, they will contact you, let you know what the results were, what the findings were and let you know what action if any was taken.

Do I have to let an officer search me or my car?

You have the right to deny a consent search of your car and even if you say ‘yes’ you can change your mind at any time. A consent search means that the officer is asking you for permission to search your car. However, if the officer has probable cause to search, they do not need consent to search your car. If you are asked to get out of your car an officer can look inside before you get back in to see if there is a weapon within reach of the driver.

Can I smoke during a traffic stop?

Yes, but it may not be in your best interest to do so.

Where should I keep my insurance card and when should I retrieve it?

In a place that is readily available. Do not reach for or obtain your financial responsibility documents until instructed to do so by an officer.