Pulled Over!

You see the blue and red lights in your rear-view mirror. You hear the sirens. Your heartbeat speeds up, and your adrenaline spikes. You might even mutter a few curse words of your choosing. You’re getting pulled over.

Now what?

  • Turn on your flashers. This lets the officer know you see them. If you can’t pull over to a safe spot right away, your flashers let the officer know you are acknowledging them, and will pull over when it’s safe to do so.
  • Pull over to a safe spot. If you rush to pull over, you could hurt yourself or another driver. Only pull over when you feel safe.
  • Look for a well-lit area. Always find a spot where you won’t block traffic. Since the office will have to get out of their vehicle, find a spot where they will not be in danger of getting hit by oncoming traffic.
  • Stay in the car!
  • Turn off your car, and roll down your window. If it’s dark, turn on the light inside your car, so that the office can clearly see you
  • Keep your hands on the steering wheel
  • Keep your answers short, and remember that you don’t have to admit any guilt. If the office asks something like “do you know why you were pulled over?” it’s okay to respond with “no,” and “I don’t know.” This is particularly important if you plan to fight against your ticket later.
  • Wait for the office to ask for your documentation. You don’t need to get your license and registration out before they approach the vehicle; in fact, rooting around in your car can make it look like you’re searching for a weapon or hiding something
  • You don’t have to consent to a search. An officer needs probable cause to search your vehicle. For example, if the car smells like marijuana, or if beer bottles are visible on the floor, they have a probable cause. If they don’t have probable cause, you’re allowed to exercise your Fourth Amendment right and refuse to give consent to a search.
  • Sign the citation. The citation isn’t necessarily an admission of guilt; rather, it says that you’ll either pay the fine or show up in court on the chosen date to argue against the ticket.
  • Be safe when merging back into traffic once you are free to go
  • Above all, be civil and respectful! If you are calm and considerate, the ordeal will go much more smoothly. The police office should treat you with dignity and civility, too— if you have a problem, report it to a local police department.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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