You, as a law-abiding citizen, can do the following to help lessen the uneasiness of the experience:
When you see the blue overhead lights and/or hear the siren, remain calm, slow down and pull over in a safe location off the roadway.
• Do not exit your vehicle unless asked to do so. This is for safety reasons.
• Keep your hands on the steering wheel so the officer can see them.
• Inform the officer of any weapons in your vehicle and their location. Do not reach or point to the location.
• Avoid any sudden movements, especially toward the floorboard, rear seat or passenger side of the vehicle.
• Comply with the officer’s request to see your driver's license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. Florida law requires you to carry these with you.
• If your documents are out of reach, tell the officer where they are before you reach for them.
• If there are passengers in your vehicle, encourage them to remain quiet and cooperate with instructions. You, as the operator, are solely responsible for your vehicle and its occupants.
• Avoid becoming argumentative. Arguing will not change the officer's mind. If you contest the violation, you will have an opportunity to address the matter in court.
• Answer all questions truthfully.
• The officer may issue you a ticket. If you feel the reason is vague or unclear, politely ask the officer for details.
• If asked to sign a citation, do so. It is not an admission of guilt. Refusal could result in an arrest.
• You have the right to politely deny a request by a police officer to search your car; however, if probable cause is present, the officer has the right to search your vehicle without your consent.
• Understand that each situation is unique and the police officer must alter his or her response to fit the circumstance. Generally, however, a police officer
- Will provide his/her name upon request.
- Will inform a person of the reason for being stopped.
- Will only arrest a person for a crime committed in the officer's presence, or when the officer has probable cause to believe the person has already committed the crime.
REMINDER: Florida Statute 316.126 requires that all drivers yield the right of way to emergency vehicles. Drivers are to immediately pull over parallel to the nearest edge, stop and remain in a stopped position until the emergency vehicle has passed.