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How to avoid an altercation when pulled over by police

Anyone who has interacted with police has experienced the spike of anxiety and insecurity these encounters cause. Getting pulled over is stressful and unnerving.

However, no matter how you feel, you need to do all you can to avoid an altercation. Therefore, these are a few strategies you can implement if the police pull you over.

Know your rights

Before you get out on the road, you should know your rights. For example, you have the right to avoid self-incrimination and to remain silent. You can choose what you say to the police. You also have a right to privacy and against illegal search and seizure. However, the police can search your vehicle if they see something that leads them to believe you committed a crime.

Prepare for the approach

Turn on your emergency flashers and find the closest safe location to pull over. Make sure both you and the officers are safe. If it is dark outside, look for well-lit areas and turn on your interior light. Place your hands on the steering wheel after rolling down your window and turning your engine off. Avoid making sudden moves or getting out of your vehicle unless the officer requests it.

Stay calm and respectful

Even if you feel like the police violated your rights, stay calm and respectful. You can record or write down the incident for a future complaint, but avoid arguing with or agitating the officers. Answer the officer’s questions honestly. However, respectfully decline to answer any questions that may incriminate you. Provide the officer with your license, registration and insurance when asked.

How you handle your encounter with police often impacts the outcome. To get the best results, be patient and do as the officers ask as long as your rights are not violated.

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