Speeding Stops in Fauquier County
Being pulled over by law enforcement officials can be a nerve-wracking process. Though there can be many reasons a police officer may have pulled you over, speeding is often the reason. Below, a Fauquier County speeding ticket lawyer explains the standard process of speed stops in Virginia, and what individuals should know if they happened to be pulled over. For more information about your particular case, make sure to call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia speeding lawyer today.
If You See Flashing Lights in Your Mirror
If you see an emergency vehicle behind you, the first thing you should do is slow down. You should then pull over on the shoulder of the roadway. This may mean pulling over to a wide shoulder, taking to a side street at a reasonable speed, or pulling into a parking lot. If the law enforcement officer is on that side street and is using the emergency equipment to encounter you, you should expect the officer will follow you, close the gap between your vehicle and their vehicle, and use their siren to inform you to come to a stop.
Standard Procedure for a Traffic Stop in Virginia
What you need to do once you have regarded the officer’s signal is slow down to a reasonable speed to let them know you are looking for a safe place to pull over. You should then activate your blinker in the direction that you intend to pull over, so that you can show the police your intent to pull over. Typically, emergency flashers are not necessary, blinkers are sufficient.
Find the nearest safe place to pull over, pull over as far off the roadway as possible without endangering yourself, others, or the officer. You should then remain in your vehicle and roll down your window when you encounter the law enforcement officer. If asked to do so, you should place your vehicle on park and turn it off.
In the Daytime
If you are pulled over during the daytime, you should first find a safe place away from the roadway to let the officer come to the side window of your vehicle without putting himself in danger.
This should not be in a turn lane or travel lane, but should be off the shoulder, in a parking bay, a side street, or a parking lot that is at a safe distance from the roadway. You should then retrieve your license and registration if it is practical. If it’s somewhere where you have to reach and go through the documents to get your license and registration, you may wait until the officer approaches the vehicle and then inform the officer that you are going to be going through the glove box for your registration. The most nervous and anxious moment for any law enforcement officer is the first few moments that they are encountering you. They don’t know you and you don’t know them, so they have to be prepared for a hostile scenario when they approach your vehicle. This includes the possibility that they may encounter someone with weapons, someone that is under the influence of alcohol, or someone who is angry or potentially unwell.
How to React Toward The Officer
Officers will approach you with caution. They will often be seen as very curt and formal upon encountering you; that does not mean that they are trying to be rude but rather they are trying to be aware of the context of the situation and be ready for anything that may occur. To help your relationship with the law enforcement officer, most attorneys reccomend that you be polite and courteous, do not be in a hurry, accusatory, or rude to the officer. Encounters that happen during the traffic stop are reported through audio, video, or other recording devices so that the court will know about the encounter.
A positive interaction during the course of a traffic stop may lead to a better outcome for your charge. A negative reaction, including being combative, rude, or disrespectful, can definitely have an impact on how your case is resolved. Prosecutors and judges rely heavily on the statements from the law enforcement officers that they gathered during the stop. If you blame the officer for your speeding ticket, accuse them of discriminatory practices, or do other things that make their job more difficult, they will record that and pass it on to the prosecutor or the judge. You should not expect the judge to take that information lightly. The judge wants to encourage cooperative and reasonable behavior with the law enforcement officers. If you have a carry permit, you should notify the officer and you should expect that when the officer approaches the vehicle, they will have that information after doing a check of your vehicle’s registration. Therefore, do not be surprised if the officer approaches your vehicle with extreme caution or asks you to place your weapons someplace if you have a carry permit and are pulled over for a traffic infraction.
Night Time Stops
The caution you should to exercise if you are pulled over at night is twofold. First, you should make sure that you pull over in a well-lit area for your safety and the officer’s safety. This may mean travelling a little more distance than you would during the daytime or finding somewhere where other drivers or businesses are present. If this is not be possible depending on the circumstances of your stop, you should just try to find somewhere that is well lit and has space for two cars to be pulled over on the side of the road. Parking lots are definitely available at night, especially in front of businesses, gas stations, or restaurants.
One of the worst things that you can do at night is to simply pull over on the shoulder of the road. Then you are putting yourself and the officer in danger or in the path of other drivers. An additional consideration at night is that if you are being pulled over by an unmarked vehicle at night then you should exercise additional caution by asking the officer to call for a backup marked vehicle to ensure that they are indeed police officers. You should say this with proper respect and the officer will not hold this against you and will simply send the request and understand that you are simply asking for some additional consideration. It is uncommon for unmarked cars to pull people over for speeding at night because of safety concerns. If you are pulled over at night by an unmarked vehicle, you should feel free to drive slowly into a well-lit or occupied area, such as a parking lot, and ask the officer to kindly call for a backup vehicle. You should also feel free to call 911 and let them know to please send a marked vehicle.