According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, a comprehensive 2018 report found that roughly 61.5 million American adults experienced police contact at least once in the past 12 months at the time of the survey. Most police contact originates from traffic enforcement. Although a central goal of traffic enforcement in Florida is to make roadways safer, a traffic stop can result in arrest after police find drugs, illegal firearms or people with outstanding warrants. Here are some guidelines for handling a traffic stop.
Never make furtive movements
Although the word “furtive” isn’t used very often outside of law enforcement, this behavior can lead to a police officer suspecting criminal activity. Put simply, a furtive movement is an awkward or clumsy movement that seems to express guilt.
For example, assume you’re in a hurry. You knowingly cruise at several miles per hour over the speed limit in hopes of arriving at work on time, but a police officer pulls you over. In an attempt to make the seemingly routine stop go faster, you reach over to your glovebox to have your registration and proof of insurance ready before the officer walks up to your window. The officer has no idea what you were doing. Even if you tell the officer what you did and have your documents in hand, they may still consider it a furtive movement. You could spend more time on the roadside as a result, and the officer might ask to search you.
Leaving your car dark
Police feel more comfortable when they can see inside your vehicle. Applying window tints, leaving your windows rolled up and keeping your interior lamps off usually make officers feel uneasy.
If you have tinted windows, roll them down at least halfway. Turn your interior lamps on, too. Do both of these while pulling over to the shoulder. Lastly, keep your hands glued to the steering wheel until the officer approaches your window and makes contact with you.
Getting pulled over is typically an unpleasant experience even at the best of times, and you don’t want to give an officer any reason to arrest you. Avoiding these mistakes may help you spend less time pulled over and keep you out of the courtroom.