WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE PULLED OVER

Tips from Sheriff Leon Lott for a Safer Police Traffic Stop


 

IF YOU SEE EMERGENCY LIGHTS:

Signal that you are going to pull over and do so as soon as you can safely manage it.

Pull off the road as far as possible toward the nearest right hand edge or into the nearest driveway or parking lot. Even if you’re not being pulled over, you should always do this so that the officer can easily go around you and get to where they actually need to be.

IF YOU ARE BEING PULLED OVER AND A DEPUTY IS APPROACHING YOUR CAR:

Turn off the car and put on the emergency brake. This shows the officer that you understand what’s going on and that you’re not planning to run away. Turn on your flashers if necessary for safety.

Turn on the dome light if it’s dark out so the officer can see into your car.

Roll down the window enough to pass documents and communicate clearly with the deputy.

Place your hands on the wheel. All passengers should keep their hands visible through the stop.

Remain still. Any sudden movement of the door or people in the car can make a deputy uneasy, so tell passengers to also remain seated.

DURING THE TRAFFIC STOP:

Be polite and follow directions at all times.

Tell the officer if you have weapons.

 Answer any questions honestly and ask for an explanation if something is unclear.

Tell the deputy in advance if you need to remove your hands from the steering wheel for any reason, such as to retrieve documents. Otherwise, keep your hands on the steering wheel.

Legal searches. There are instances where deputies can legally search your vehicle without your permission. Otherwise, they may ask for your consent to search your vehicle. Under those circumstances, you have the right to refuse, and the officer will not be allowed to search your vehicle.

Do not exit the car at any point unless the deputy asks you to do so.

WHY WAS I PULLED OVER?

Law enforcement officers may conduct a traffic stop any time they have a reasonable suspicion that an occupant of the car is committing or has committed a violation of the law. You should be respectful and follow the directions given if you are pulled over, even if you don’t agree with the reason for the stop; on the side of the road is not the place to dispute the stop. You will have an opportunity to tell your side of the story in court if you choose. Richland County deputies are expected to be professional and courteous, but firm when enforcing the law. If you are concerned by a deputy’s actions during the stop, you should report it to the Sheriff’s Department so that the Department and Citizen’s Advisory Council can review it.

 

5623 Two Notch Road 
Columbia, South Carolina 29223 
(803) 576-3000 phone (803) 576-3195 fax
sheriff@rcsd.net

Copyright © 2016 Richland County Sheriff's Department