Ever been pulled over by a cop? My first time was today. Bad experience.

Today on my way to work, I was pulled over by a city cop. This was the first time I’ve been pulled over in 21 years of driving and the whole thing freaked me out.

I was driving east on a busy 6 lane street. I was in the right lane, with my blinker on indicating that I’m turning left onto a one way street. While I’m waiting for the light, I notice that a police car is sitting in the inside lane of the westbound lanes, lights on. There is a uniformed officer behind the wheel. Then, I notice a guy standing in one of the travel lanes of the street that I’m wanting to turn on. (it should be noted that the guy was not wearing a uniform). So, I go ahead and turn right after the light changes. I glance in my rear view mirror and see the non uniformed guy running toward the police car and they haul ass after me with lights on. I pull over and the non uniformed guy gets out of the passenger side and proceeds to very loudly ask me why I made that right turn at such a high rate of speed. He also said that he was a police officer and he was directing traffic and I shouldn’t have “disobeyed” his direction. I told him that I didn’t realize he was a cop and that I had thought there had been an accident and he was just a bystander. He said, “wrong, I’m a cop!!!”. I told him that there was no way I could have known that. Then I started to get mad for the way I was being treated. I decided to shut up, since I didn’t want to get this cop more pissed. In the end, he told me to start paying more attention to my surroundings and to start obeying “authority” figures. He also said that he was doing me a big favor by not giving me a ticket…i.e. my insurance rates would go sky high, etc

There were a lot of things I wanted to ask the cop, but I remembered something I heard on tv, “You can’t talk your way out of a ticket, but you can talk your way into one”. I’m still a bit puzzled as to what I was supposed to do? Am I now to assume that every person I see standing in the street is a non-uniformed cop and I must follow his orders?

Hope this is the right forum for this.

With all due respect, I think the best advice he gave you was

I have seen situations similar to what you have described, and there has always been enough information for me to put together who I should and should not be listening to. Even if it is “just a bystander,” he may be acting on instructions from the police. Some wino on the side of the street telling you to pull off into a ditch and somebody indicating that you should proceed with caution are pretty easy to tell apart if you are paying attention.

You’re probably both at fault; you for not paying attention, and him for behaving disrespectfully. As for the latter, it’s my opinion that way too many cops are on power trips and love pushing their (so-called) authority around…

[smart ass mode]

I kinda susprised that he didn’t cite you for making a left turn from the right lane :smiley:

In California there is a question that always seems to pop up on the driver’s test (I’ve had it as have both of my kids) it concerns who you are legally required to obey hand signals from. The correct answer is a Police officer or Fireman (fireperson?) in uniform

I have no clue the law in your state. But assuming that it is the same or similar I am guessing that he would have a hard time making a cite stick. However with that said, if there was an a Police car in the Left turn lane stopped with its overhead lights on, this is probably a clue that they don’t want people turning left onto that street, and possibly not turning right onto that street either. When you see a cop car with its overhead lights on, look around! They may have been doing an investagation and had officers down on their knee looking at evidence. If you think you got yelled at this time, try running over and officer and see what happens.

I think cops just love cracking down on people that, once they get caught, can’t behave decently. The only time I’ve gotten pulled over, I was doing a bunch of illegal stuff:speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, not signalling, and, ahem, comparing my vehicle’s potential to another. Cop pulls me and the other guy over, said he’d paced us at 87. I followed the exact, by-the-book advice on how to behave; looked like the other guy was agitated and arguing. I got written up for 81, no mention of any of the other things. The other guy? Well, I’ve not seen him since, and he was still being spoken to when I left. Moral of the story? Cops just want you to learn to stop breaking the law, if you appear to learn that, they’ll be easy on you…if not (yelling, arguing, generally acting like a jackass), then you are in for some more nonsense.

Well I was pulled over, as a young driver, by a pair of police who

  • followed me for a while
  • then the driver indicated to me to pull over by lifting an index finger off the wheel (keeping the other 9 on it) and moving it across from right to left (remember Aussies drive on the left). As I said to himn later, I thought he was pointing something out to his passenger, not signalling to me.
  • when that didnt work, simultaneously turning his lights on, pulling out into oncoming traffic, making them swerve out of the way, pulling up alongside me and travelling parallel to me and just looking at me, not even then giving a clear signal to pull over (which I couldnt, as ther was no shoulder to the road, just a fence).

Then they had a good look all over the car, trying to find some defects to make the exercise worthwhile. All because the number plate was rusty in one patch, and made one letter hard to read!

It’s also my opinion that cops are entirely too high on their (perceived?) authority. Probably comes from just running across the same kind of morons every day… after years of doing that job it’s probably just like any other, it gets old. Cops can’t “move up” though, where I live once you’re a cop, you’re pretty much a cop for the rest of your life.

Anyway, I think they completely lose sensitivity to the common person who doesn’t get pulled over often. They don’t really care or want to know how the person is feeling about the situation. I’ve learned after getting pulled over several times to just not say anything. I don’t even answer their questions any more… once they get out of their car they’ve already decided what they’re going to give you… by talking you only make it worse.

I’m the OP and I’d like to correct something. I was in the right hand lane and was turning RIGHT, not left.


I used to get pulled over alot. Not for any reason that they ever told me about, mind, I just got pulled over alot.

They think they were right to pull you over. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have pulled you over. The best you can hope for is to let them convince themselves that they were wrong to do it.

There are two ways that can go. They can convince themselves that they were wrong to do it and now they should let you go because you are somebody who doesn’t deserve any further hassle, or they can convince themselves that they were wrong to pull you over but now that they have you here you deserve some hassle for making them pull you over.

Most of the cops I’ve run into have been willing to go the first route, but equally willing to go the second. There are a bunch out there who will want to go the second from the start of the encounter. Either way, you’re not going to help yourself by being what they see as a problem.

You can sort all that out the next day with your lawyer in tow if you feel you were seriously wronged. You can sue the department, you can file a complaint against the cops involved, you can file a class action suit on behalf of agrieved motorists, but you cannot win a confrontation with street cops.

You didn’t have a confrontation. You did the right thing at the time. You just need to decide what your response is going to be now.

Flashing blue lights change the entire picture of the road. Unless they’re right behind you it’s probably worth finding an alternate route, because you don’t know what they’re doing, you don’t know how to react to it, and you don’t want any part of it.

I’ve had two experiences getting pulled over. One was good and the other, well, not so good.

The Good:

It was nighttime and I’d just received a call on my mobile, so I pulled into a side street and turned off the engine so I could talk. When I had finished, I forgot to turn my headlights back on, and an oncoming police car flashed its lights at me. I thought the police car was warning me about another police car, which confused me a little. So they did a u-turn and pulled me over because they thought my lights were broken. When it turned out I had just forgotten, they sent me on my merry way.

The Bad:

Once again this was at night (around 1 in the morning), and I was in the car with my boyfriend and his younger brother. My boyfriend’s car was getting fixed and he was temporarily driving his dad’s Jaguar. We were on an emptyish 80kph road, and he quickly accelerated to that speed, although he definitely didn’t go over. He then noticed a police car following us for about 100 metres (he maintains they didn’t have their lights on, but I didn’t see) and they then pulled us over.

They then spent about half an hour checking every detail of the car, and putting it through the computer to see if it was stolen. They checked the lights, the registration, the license-plate, the wheels, the windows - everything. They didn’t tell us what was happening and the few times they talked to us, they were rude and aggressive. When the officer couldn’t find anything wrong, he said that we were lucky he hadn’t given us a ticket and made some throwaway comment about how people with nice cars thought they could drive any way they liked.

That’s what I thought, but I will admit it took me several reading before I understood. (only had 3 brain cells on duty)

I used to drive cab on the night shift and in the wee hours the cops would park in the lot of the local mini mall and wait for us(other cab drivers). They would pull out behind you and stay in your blind spot for over a mile hoping you’d speed cause they were bored out of their skulls …just like we were at that hour.

It was more good natured stuff as we helped them with runaways and things but some drivers would be asses to them and they’d be asses right back.(They are the ones who got the tickets)

I had a personna for just such an occasion…I was good natured farm boy and very aggreeable…I almost never got a ticket.

The very first time I was pulled over was a harrowing experience…because I was breaking the LAW.

I was on ‘P’ plates on a motorbike, which means (in Aus at least) that you are not allowed to have a pillion passenger. However, due to circumstances which I won’t go into here, I had my boyfriend on the back of my Suzuki 250 early on a Sunday morning. I’d taken off the P plates (just to be careful!!) but something must have given us away because some rotten copper decided to do a license check on me.

After he pulled up beside me and beckoned me to the kerb with his gloved finger, I got off the bike to await my fate. Now remember, I had NEVER had any dealings with the wallopers before this, so I was petrified. I was so scared that my legs started shaking violently, and I couldn’t stop them. The poor copper thought I was having some sort of fit and was nearly ready to call an ambulance!! It is amazing what fear can do to the human body. I DID eventually stop shaking long enough for him to charge me with riding with a pillion whilst on P’s.

My Australian is a little rusty, but damn, that sure sounds like a serious violation to me. Next time, please, do the P’s in the privacy of your own home, and for God’s sakes stop associating with pillions !

They’re nothing but trouble, I tell you !

Always be nice. Let me repeat that. ALWAYS BE NICE. I larned this the hard way.

On Christmas day my brother and I were driving to my mom’s place when I got pulled over. I was mad, because I got nailed in a speed trap where the speed limit was changing, and even so I wasn’t more than a mile or two over the limit. I was also slowing down. Questionable tactics IMHO.

In any event, when the officer came to my car and started his lecture, I interrupted him and said “The only reason you pulled me over is because I’m going to be with my family on Christmas Day and you have to work.”

Which was greeted by total silence. And followed by a ticket for $160.00. I learned that day that, in South Carolina at least, the officer sets the amount of your fine, not the judge.

Just wanted to observ - anytime you get pulled over and are NOT given a ticket, YOU WIN!
Doesn’t matter if you screwed up or the cop was having a bad day. Both happen, and will happen again. Best thing is you didn’t take the opportunity to send a potential bad situation straight into the crapper.

Here’s a record to shoot for: I live in Washington State and have been pulled over three different times for various illegalities (is that even a word!). I have driven into California three times for vacations and have been pulled over in Cali ALL THREE TIMES. Now granted, one was clearly my fault and I had no choice but to accept the ticket with a “thank you,” but the other two were definite cases of “this-guy-is-out-of-state-on-vacation-and-will-just-pay-the-ticket-instead-of-possibly-challanging-it.” What are you going to do?

Of the six, I’ve only had one cop who went out of his way to be rude, so I guess it could be worse.

Last time I got pulled over I was doing 60 in 55 mph zone on I-70 going into Frederick. Sherrif said “You were going a little fast back there dontcha think?” And i just played along “yes, i would say so.” He said he wouldn’t write me up a ticket but he did want to search my vehicle for guns and drugs.

I probably wouldn’t have gotten search if my 2 friends hadn’t been acting like imbeciles: 1 in the backseat kept looking back at the cop every 5 seconds. And the one in the passenger seat was flailing his arms like an epileptic moron. I did get anything a warning for 5 mph over, but I’ll take it. I was cooperative and he was quite the nice guy about it.

I’ve got pulled over twice in my life. The first time was within a month of getting my license. I was driving my sisters’ car to visit a friend around 2:30 in the morning. I did a California stop down the street from my house and next thing I know lights are flashing. I pull over blah blah blah…and get my ticket. So I’m a little irritated, but continue to go to my friends house. About 2 blocks from his house, I GET PULLED OVER AGAIN! It’s been about 10 minutes since I got pulled over. I hear the cop tell me to “put my hands where he can see them”. I still have my ticket in my hand at this point and stick my hands out the window. Cop comes up, and realizes he just pulled me over 10 minutes earlier. Says they’re looking for a vehicle matching the description of the one I’m driving. Something about someone firing a gun from a vehicle or something. Anyhoo…I tell them that it wasn’t me because I was just across town getting a ticket from him, and I go on my merry way.

The other time I got pulled over was because my license plate lights were out. It was a Sheriff who pulled me over. He was pretty nice. I was working @ the time, toodling around a town adjacent to ours putting newspapers in their racks. I had about 200 loose newspapers in the back of the truck and a couple of bundled up ones. He asked me what I was doing with so much paper, and I told him I was working. He let me go and told me to fix the lights.


I’ve been pulled over six times in my life, and got ticketed twice. (Gee, that seems like a lot. I’ve only been driving for ten years!) Both times I was going about 80 mph, so I really can’t say I was treated unfairly. The first cop was a brusque State Trooper and just wrote out the ticket. The second was a County Sheriff’s deputy who looked fresh out of the academy. I still had my Oregon driver’s license, which doesn’t have my SS# on it, and he had to ask me what it was to write the ticket. I should’ve refused to divulge it. :stuck_out_tongue:

The two scariest stops were when I was still in college. I was driving with two buddies and a cop turned around after we passed him. We pulled off the road into a parking lot, turned off the lights and tried to hide but he pulled up right behind us. He had me get out and sit in his car with him. He asked me why I’d tried to hide, did I realize he could’ve ticketed me for three different infractions after the initial one (which was just driving with my high beams on through town) etc. I thanked my lucky stars later I hadn’t drank any with some other friends earlier. If he’d smelled even a whiff of booze, I’d have been soooooo fucked. But he let me off with just a warning.

A year or two later I was driving to work at about 7 a.m. in Seattle when I got pulled over for driving with expired tags. I’d lost my driver’s license and had no identification at all, and the car belonged to my brother, who didn’t even have the same last name as me. Plus, my insurance info was out of date, and when they ran the plates they found the car was improperly registered. They had me out of the car, with my hands on the roof, patted me down, the whole nine yards. They told me I was this close to going to jail. To this day, I’m not sure exactly why they let me go. I had a pay stub in my pocket, and maybe they figured a criminal wouldn’t be gainfully employed. Plus, I was so sleep deprived at the time it would’ve been impossible for me to act nervous. My brain was in a fog.