While some North Carolina traffic violations can just be a nuisance, others can lead to excessive fines, points on your license and even tense situations that lead to danger. No matter what you are being pulled over for, it is important that you know how to handle a traffic stop without escalating a situation, especially if you plan to contest the ticket in court.
FindLaw advises that the first thing you should do when you see the police car is pull over safely and quickly. Immediately let the officer know that you are complying with the request to pull over. Move to the right shoulder with the appropriate signals as quickly as possible. The goal is to make sure that the officer knows that you are in control, and the faster you pull over, the closer you are to the scene where the violation occurred.
Even if an officer is aggressive toward you, remain polite and calm. Turn off your engine, roll down your window and keep both hands on the steering wheel where they can be seen. Wait until you are asked for your registration and license to reach for them.
Most of the time, officers are not allowed to search a vehicle even during a traffic stop, but if you give the officer a reason they can proceed. Any suspicious movements such as hunching down in your seat or throwing things out the window can give the officer cause for alarm.
Do not get out of the car unless you have been asked to do so by the police officer. If you are asked to leave the vehicle, do it carefully and calmly without any sudden movements. If the officer has reason to believe you are armed, they may pat you down to search for a weapon.
Finally, let the officer handle most of the communication. The more information you give up, the more can be used against you. Give one-word answers to avoid incriminating yourself and remember that you have more to lose by being belligerent than by being polite and calm.
This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.