You are driving down the highway in excess of the posted speed limit and you fail to see the patrol car hidden behind the trees until it is too late.  The lights come on and the next thing you know you are pulled over on the side of the road.  So what’s next?

First, remember the officer is in control.  Be polite because if you do end up going to Court asking for mercy you won’t stand a chance if the Officer says you were uncooperative.  The Officer can help or hurt you if you want the Judge to help you out.

Next, although conventional wisdom says you should have your license and registration ready to give to the Officer you do not want to be reaching for the glove compartment with an Officer wondering if there may be a gun in the vehicle.  When the Officer approaches it is best to have both hands on the steering wheel with your fingers placed so the Officer can see them.

If the Officer asks you if you know why you were stopped an acceptable answer is “I’m not sure.”  If the Officer asks to search your vehicle you should always decline.  Without your consent an Officer ordinarily cannot search your vehicle for a routine traffic stop. 

In some areas of Virginia drivers are being charged with driving without proof of insurance.  This is not an offense in Virginia and if you are charged with this you will almost certainly want to contest the charge in court.