Most of the time, if you are getting stopped by a police officer, the person stopping you is actually a police officer. You see the lights, hear the sirens, you are being pulled over! Are there really people who pretend to be cops just to prey on unsuspecting motorists? How can you be sure? How can you make yourself feel safe? Recently, the National Motorist Association published some tips for women (although they apply to everyone).
- If you honestly weren’t speeding, didn’t run a light, or commit another traffic infraction, be wary if out of the blue and for no reason you can think of a flashing light appears behind you.
- Your “threat level” should go up a notch if the car doesn’t look right. Trust your gut.
- Your “threat level” should go up a notice if the police officer doesn’t look right. He or she isn’t in uniform. He or she appears unkempt. He or she asks you strange questions. He or she doesn’t pass the ‘gut check’.
- If you are stopped, you can ask to see the officer’s identification. If the Police Officer is legitimate he or she will be happy to show it to you.
- If you are nervous or uncomfortable (and not just because you don’t want a ticket), keep your doors locked and your windows up, but put your car in park and turn your engine off. If you are nervous, explain to the police officer why you are nervous. If he or she is legitimate, he or she should be understanding.
- Take a good look at the photograph, does it match the officer standing in your window? Does he or she flash it to quickly for you to see? Can you read a badge number? Can you read his or her name on the badge?
- If you are uneasy, and the police officer is in plain clothes and in an unmarked cruiser, you can ask that another car be dispatched to the scene. This might annoy the police officer, but it is better to be safe!
- You can call 911 and ask the operator if the person pulling you over is a real police officer. If he or she is they might be annoyed, but if he or she ISN’T you may have just saved your life.
- If you are in the worst case scenario (a weird non-cop has pulled you over) drive immediately to a well-lighted and very public area as quickly as possible. Draw as much attention to yourself as possible. Use common sense. Drive quickly but don’t go racing through a neighborhood at 100 mph. Call your friends or 911 and give them as much information you can about the car that has stopped you. You might get a ticket, but it is better to trust your intuition and be wrong than to ignore and well be . . . . You can deal with the ticket later.
- Be prepared to defend yourself.
If you have received a legitimate ticket from a police officer and want to know your options, call me at 866-981-7888 or email for a consultation. Phone calls are accepted 24 hours a day.