What to do when you stopped by an officer

Most drivers are stopped at some point by a law enforcement officer. Many individuals are pulled over for a moving violation.

police stopping a car

If a police car is approaching you with flashing lights:

  • Calmly turn on your signal, drive to the right of the roadway, pull over, and stop.
  • If you're on the freeway, move to the shoulder of the road on the right.
  • Do not leave your vehicle once you have stopped, but roll down your window all the way.
  • Keep your hands on the steering wheel and be polite to the officer as you follow his or her instructions.
  • Be prepared to give your license, registration, and insurance to the officer when requested.
  • If you are given a ticket, do not argue with the officer. Sign the citation; signing does not admit guilt, and you can dispute the citation in court later.

Responding to a Ticket
Within a few weeks, the court will send you information on different ways to respond to the citation. If you disagree with the citation, you can request a hearing to challenge the citation. If you are a minor, your parent must be present at the hearing.

During the hearing, you will have to present evidence for your case and the officer will testify. If you challenge the ticket and lose, you may not have the option of attending traffic school.  If you decide not to challenge the ticket, you must pay the fine.  You have the option of attending traffic school so that the citation doesn't appear on your driving record.

police arresting

Consequences of Evading Law Enforcement
You should always stop when your vehicle when an officer is attempting to stop you. Failing to do is a misdemeanor charge that could result in a one-year imprisonment. (CVC 2800.1)

If you attempt to evade the officer and cause injury to anyone, you could be imprisoned for three, five, or seven years in a state prison, or one year in a county jail. You could also be forced to pay a fine between $2,000 and $10,000.

Anyone who is convicted of causing someone's death while attempting to evade a police officer will face four, six, or ten years' imprisonment. (CVC 2800.3)