The following are excerpts from a speech given by a former Los Angeles Police Department Commander. He makes some good points. Hopefully this information will save you from getting a Traffic Ticket with a substantial fine sometime in the future.
“A police car pulls in behind you with flashing lights. A cold chill runs up your spine. You know you must pull over. As the saying goes, it’s curtains.” What do you do next?
Driving a car in Southern California is an event that requires constant attention and a lot of attention. If by chance you’re the subject of a traffic stop by a police unit the way you react to the stop means everything. As soon as the emergency lights approach you from the rear you have about 15 to 20 seconds to indicate to the officer behind you it is your intent to pull over. The officer will usually activate his emergency lights as soon as he sees there is a safe open area ahead for you to stop and pull over to the right. Never, never delay in slowing and pulling over, the officer does not want to use his siren to gain your intentions since that may cause other issues with surrounding traffic at the same time the officer will become irritated by your behavior so you want to make sure that you pull your vehicle over to the right before the traffic stop rises to that level.
If the officer feels in any way threatened by your behavior then the stop will not go well.
Once you are stopped do not get out of your car.
Put your hands on the steering wheel and sit in the car with the window rolled down and don’t reach for anything. The officer will be approaching from the rear of your vehicle and primarily he is interested in focusing on his safety. You may be harboring a weapon near or under your seat. So your hands must remain visible at all times on the steering wheel of the car. The officer does not want you to get out of your vehicle so stay in the car.
After the officer comes up to your vehicle he is going to ask you “Do you know why I stopped you?”. Your response should be “no”. If he feels you were speeding, he will tell you.
Never ask the question of officer “What did I do?”. He’s not going to tell you until he has in his hands both your Driver’s License and the Registration of your vehicle at which time he can safely tell you why you are being stopped.
Your response to the officer’s question as to why he stopped you should be that, “all [you] know is that you traveling within the speed limit” otherwise an “Admission” of excessive speed or other violation will have you at fault and you will be given a ticket.
If the officer tells you, you have executed a California stop then it is your opportunity to let him know that you never travel above the speed limit and that you did not run the stop sign. But make sure you are agreeable and cooperative at all times and not argumentative. In California when the officer asks you for your license you must remove your Driver’s License from your wallet or card holder and hand it to the officer. In some states the Driver’s License is handed to the officer along with a bribe. However in California the officer will not consider any numeration but only your Driver’s License and your Registration will be all that will be accepted. Hopefully all will go well with you and your cooperation will be met by the officer’s agreeable attitude.