What Should You Do When Stopped By Police in North Carolina?
Most of us have been there before: You are driving down the highway when –suddenly – you see those blue and red lights racing towards you.
Getting pulled over can ruin any driver’s day. No wants to deal with a traffic violation. Further, getting pulled over is extremely stressful. It is normal to be nervous and uncomfortable during a stop.
You may be frustrated, too, because you feel like you did not do anything wrong. Of course, that is a decision for the courts to make. The side of the road is not the place to argue with an officer or raise a defense against the alleged violation.
Instead, when you are pulled over by a police officer in North Carolina, you should remain calm and cooperate with all of the officer’s reasonable requests. Then, get your case to our traffic offense attorneys. We have the skills and experience needed to protect your legal rights.
As provided here, the Raleigh Police Department has produced a helpful video that informs motorists of what to expect during a traffic stop. In the video, Captain Michael Bruce guides us through the entire process of the stop.
Mr. Bruce gives us the following important information about what drivers should do when they get pulled over in North Carolina:
- Bring your car to a stop.
As soon as you realize that an officer is trying to stop you, you have a legal obligation to pull your vehicle over as quickly and as safely as is possible. Please remain calm during this time. In most situations, you should pull your vehicle to the far right shoulder of the road, as far from traffic as possible.
- You should turn everything off.
Once you bring your vehicle to a halt, you should shut down the engine and turn off anything else that could prevent you from communicating clearly with the officer. Most often, this means turning off your music.
- Keep your hands visible.
Both drivers and passengers should keep their hands visible at all times. Do not start reaching for anything without the officer’s permission. If your license and registration is in the glove compartment, just wait for the officer to ask for those documents. Remember: The police officer does not know who you are or anything about you. Traffic stops can be stressful for everyone involved. You can make things safer for all parties by keeping calm and keeping your hands visible at all times.
- Remain inside your vehicle.
Do not exit your vehicle unless the officer tells you to do so. Once again, this is true for passengers as well. Simply remain inside your car until the officer has a chance to speak with you.
- Lower your window.
As the officer approaches, you should calmly lower your window so that the officer has the ability to clearly communicate with you.
- Notify the officer of the presence of weapons.
Many people in North Carolina lawfully carry different types of weapons. You should notify the officer as to the presence of these weapons. For example, if you are a law-abiding gun owner who is carrying during your stop, let the officer know about the presence of your gun.
- Comply with reasonable requests.
When stopped, please follow the officer’s instructions. This is not the appropriate time to debate the merits of a traffic stop. Let your attorney handle that in the courtroom.
- The officer will tell you when you can go.
After getting your license, registration and insurance information, the responding officer will generally take those documents back to his or her car to cross-reference them with the official state records. Do not leave the scene until the officer returns from the vehicle and tells you that it is time to go.
The Consequences of a Speeding Ticket: The True Cost Is Far More Than You Might Realize
North Carolina drivers can be stopped for a wide variety of reasons. Though, by far, the most common reason is speeding.
The consequences of a speeding ticket can be much more severe than most people realize. Under North Carolina law, a speeding ticket may result in:
- A significant fine and court fees
- Points on your driving record
- The loss of your license
- Increased insurance costs.
Many people incorrectly view a traffic ticket as a minor nuisance. This leads to the belief that the best way to handle a speeding ticket is to just pay it and get it over with. However, for many people, this is a huge mistake.
A speeding ticket costs far more than its face value. Recently, NerdWallet released the findings of a study on what a minor speeding ticket does to a North Carolina driver’s insurance premiums.
The researchers found that getting a ticket for going 15 miles an hour over the speed limit will typically cost a driver $30 for the ticket and $188 in court costs.
However, the costs do not stop there. That type of ticket would then add an average $1,600 to insurance costs over the following three years.
So, that “minor” ticket for going 15 mph over the speed limit could end up costing nearly $2,000. The good news is that there is another option.
Hiring a Lawyer Could Save You Money
If you have received a speeding ticket in North Carolina, do not simply plead guilty. You owe it to yourself to get your case reviewed by one of our speeding lawyers.
Our team will assess your options and determine exactly what needs to be done to best protect your legal rights and financial interests. Depending on the facts of your case, for instance, we could:
- Contest the charge – In some cases, the evidence will not support the ticket that you received. In this situation, we can fight aggressively and try to get your ticket dismissed.
- Negotiate for a reduced charge – In many speeding ticket cases, the best defense is to ask for a reduced charge. This is because the speed that you were allegedly going over the limit makes a dramatic difference in the total costs. If your ticket can be reduced from an “over 10 mph” charge to an “under 10 mph” charge, your insurance premiums will likely not be affected at all. That could save you thousands of dollars.
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
The Goldsboro Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Strickland Agner Pittman can help you. Even a minor traffic offense can have serious long-term legal and financial consequences. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients and pursuing ways to save them money.
To learn more about what we can do for you, please contact our office today. Our firm has offices in Goldsboro and Kinston and we represent clients throughout the surrounding areas in North Carolina.