Stopped by the Police: Get out of the vehicle, or stay in your seat?

Stay in the car, hands on the top of the steering wheel, palms up. When the cop asks why your hands are palms up on the steering wheel, tell him, “All my cop relatives told me to do it this way if I am ever pulled over so that you’ll be able to see my hands. Police safety is a priority for me.” Make idle chit chat about cops we know in common. Wish him a good and safe day, then drive off as he waves.

That’s my method, anyway.

  1. In the US, always stay in the car. The cops will often come to both windows, too.

  2. You could do this: I was once stopped at a insurance check - my papers were like two days out of date and I was trying to convince the cop that it wasn’t a big deal and I would replace my papers right away, that I had insurance! - when a car was pulled over in front of me.

First they pulled the driver out. Even from where I was, 20-30 feet away I could see he was drunk as anything and weaving all over the road as the cop had him walk.
Then out of the passenger side comes a whole mess of beer bottles. :confused: Then the cop sees it and goes around and hauls him out, too. Then they open the car and start hauling out opened beer bottles - which in the US is suicide - and closed beer bottles and beer cans. Then they open the hatchback and pull out at least 10 more cases of beer. Wow.

I didn’t get my ticket. The co was unconcerned after all that.

Our lieutenant governor, who you may remember from such fun times as "going over 100 on the interstate and getting out of it by calling himself “SC 2”, or maybe his more recent “flying a plane into the ground” fun times, also got into trouble a few years ago by flying down a city street at some ungodly speed, getting pulled over, and getting out of the car and advancing towards the cop car. (I can’t remember, he may have had a gun pulled on him by the cop.) A lot of people said at the time that he’s lucky he’s not a young black guy or he may have found himself with a sudden case of lead poisoning. American cops do not like it when you get out of the car, or for that matter do anything but sit quietly and be polite.

In my reading of one US state’s [forget which] criminal statutes, I determined that the state considered getting out of your car during a traffic stop without being ordered to do so by a law enforcement officer to be serious crime complete with jail time associated. It was either a very low-grade felony or a very serious misdemenor.

I usually get out of the car, unless it’s night. I know you’re told not to but, it works better for getting out of the ticket, occording to a psych prof I knew, and so far it seems to be right.

Getting out of car 0 for 25 in getting written up.
stayign in car 4- 10 in getting written up.

What do you mean “say no to any other request?” What other request would they ask other than a sobriety test or something? I don’t get pulled over so i’m not that familiar with the procedure.

Permission to search your car, for instance.

I thought he was allowed to search inside for something within arm’s reach? The trunk would be a no-no since it is well beyond arm’s reach.

Even “within arms reach” he still has to have probable cause. Refuse all requests to search at all times, and then ask if you are free to go. Never, ever, ever say yes to a search request, even if you are lily-white and pure. If they want to search you, make them get a warrant.

In my state, you have no choice. If you get out of your car, you are told thru a PA speaker to get back in the car. If you disobey, you are shot.

That’s why I always exit the car fast, run back to the cop and shoot him first, before he gets a chance to call for help.

Works every time.

This isn’t GQ, is it?

Are there any states in the US where you are supposed to get out of your car if pulled over by the police? I know there were a few within recent memory (Louisiana comes to mind), but I’m not sure if that has changed. I used to worry about this when I was driving while on vacation.

Stay in the car, of course; If I get out and try to walk, they’ll notice how drunk I am.

The (informal) advice in the UK used to be to get out of the car and meet the officer, so as to appear helpful; I’m not sure if this still applies, or indeed if any formal instruction has ever been issued.

I see this piece of advice mentioned a lot (and I do mean a lot), but I’ve never heard a rationale behind it beyond the usual “Rights!” stuff.

Do the police in some places there have a reputation for planting evidence or damaging the vehicle during a search, or am I missing something?

Well…lots of reasons. Some rational, some not so much. I don’t like cops, and I don’t co-operate when it isn’t in my best interests (meaning I want something.) Selfish, I know. But I also know that there might be something in the trunk from a party 6 weeks ago, or I missed an ammo case when I got back from the range, or I just don’t want ignorant clowns in ill-fitting momkey-suits pawing through my car. They aren’t responsible for anything they break or take, and you can’t sue them successfully for your lost time. So, take the time, and make their professional lives as useless as you can without spending a night in the slammer. I object to being searched by just about anybody, for just about any reason.

I know…I don’t fly much anymore either.

Hey SHAKES, your location says Dallas, so maybe you can answer this one…

When I was in the Navy, stationed in upstate New York, a buddy who was from Texas told us about a close shave he had when he stepped out of his car on the Thruway and a NY state trooper drew down on him. His point was that “Back home”, you always got out of the car for the cop. (this was twenty years ago).

Is this true? Does one get out of the car in Texas for the cops these days?

Let’s nip this little misapprehension in the bud, shall we. First of all “the US” doesn’t have a concealed carry law; certain states permit (or allow counties and municipalities to permit) concealed carry, but it’s hardly the case even in the states where non-discresionary (“shall issue”) permits are available that anything more than a small minority of citizens legally carry a concealed weapon. Second, the percentage of shootings, particularly police shootings, by someone who has obtained a CCW permit is negligible. The notion that someone who has gone through the legal process of obtaining permit to carry a concealed weapon would then draw and use it during a routine traffic citation is so far afield from reality that one might as well speak of White Rabbits and Cheshire Cats in the same sentence. Third, any stop a police officer makes is a potentially dangerous situation; setting aside the issue of a concealed weapon (legally carried or not) the police officer has to deal with an offender in a 3000+ car, has to walk along a (typically) busy road, has to cope with often aggressive or argumentative suspect, et cetera. Anything you do to make his or her job less stressful (including just being honest about your violation, if you made one) is bonus points for you.

It used to be de rigour (for men at least) to get out of the car and approach the officer, but that stopped being smart several decades ago. As for compliance with search requests…well, on one hand, if there’s no cause you’re on your rights to refuse a voluntary search (except at random drug checkpoints, I guess…anybody want to speak to the Constitutionality of that?) but they can keep you there all day while waiting for a warrant. The one time I was pulled over and requested a search, I was in a hurry to get to work and knew that I wasn’t the guy they were looking for, so I popped the trunk and was waved on my way in thirty seconds. I feel more violated every time I see how much the Feds are taking out of my paycheck for Social Security.


Bolding mine.

Let’s nip this little misapprehension in the bud, shall we?

If they kept you there all day waiting for a warrant, it would be highly likely that they would be found to have violated your rights. Doper lawyers like Bricker and Gfactor and Campion* have spoken about this issue on multiple occasions, and while they have pointed out that the courts have been reluctant to specify an exact time limit for such stops, they have also noted that the courts have made clear that the police are expected to get the warrant and carry out the search within a reasonable time period.

And, if i remember their arguments correctly, they also believe that keeping someone waiting all day would be beyond a reasonable time limit, especially if the officer had no probable cause in the first place and was merely on a fishing expedition after the driver refused consent to search.

  • To the above-mentioned lawyers: i’m going from memory here, based on my participation in earlier threads, and if i’ve misremembered or misrepresented your position on this issue, i apologise. Please correct me if you think i’ve got it wrong.

Weeeellll, you’re both right.

A cop “can” keep you there all day while waiting for a warrant. It isn’t legal for him to do that, however. What’s legal is a "reasonable"time period.

Stranger’s point (may I speak for you? I may? Thanks!) simply is that if you decline a search, cops can delay you almost indefinitely. Assume that a cop does so, after several hours obtains a warrant, searches your vehicle, and comes up empty. The cop then says, “ah well, shoulda let me search. Have a nice day!”

Your recourse then for this violation of your rights is to sue the police. A couple of years later, maybe you get some cash, maybe you don’t. Who’s going to bother engaging in protracted litigation over something like this? The answer, generally, is almost nobody. So you go on to live your life, angry at cops, while this wrong goes unrighted until some bozo with more anger than sense takes on the system. (I say bozo, because really, what sane or intelligent person would voluntarily get involved in litigation?)

By contrast, assume that the cop gets the warrant, searches your vehicle, and finds something. Then, when you’re tried for whatever that offense is, you would move to exclude the item seized on the ground that you shouldn’t have been held there by the side of the road so long. Maybe you win, maybe you don’t.

So, you’re both right! (Maybe I should give up law and become a mediator?)

No; reasonable suspicion is enough. See this thread here, with particular attention to that new guy, Bricker. He acquits himself well in that thread. :wink:

Also one must take a small packet out of their pocket and toss it into the grass. The police always crack up over that, laughs all around.

I have family that are Dallas police officers so I can tell you with pretty good authority that you absolutely SHOULD NOT get out of the car when stoped.
Can’t tell ya for sure about 20 years ago tho’