Traffic stops gone wrong—
They used to be something we only saw in movies or on TV shows…but recently, they’ve been making local and national headlines…
But if you got pulled over, would you know what to do? Would you know your rights here in Georgia?
News 3’s Courtney Cole voluntarily got pulled over by Georgia State Patrol on Thursday so you can find out.
It’s the sight and sound you never want to see in your rear view mirror…
…A state trooper or police officer signaling for you to pull over.
But since this will happen to most of us at least once, here’s what Georgia State Patrol Post Commander and Trooper William Nease says you should expect:
“Usually the first thing we do when we approach the vehicle is we’ll identify ourselves, explain the reason for the stop and ask for a driver’s license.”
Right now, you’re probably watching Trooper Nease walk around to my passenger’s side and it’s probably confusing you, because you expected to see him approach my driver’s side, right?—Me too!
But he told me he does this to catch anyone off guard who may have bad intentions and to stay safe during the traffic stop.
If you’re thinking of pulling out your phone—to record the interaction between you and the officer for your safety, you can…
“If they want to take the phone out and set it to the side and record us–that’s fine, there’s nothing we can do to stop them,” Trooper Nease Told News 3.
And while you’re recording, the officer may ask you to step out of the car.
Now remember–getting out of the car is something you do have to comply with…whether an officer gives you a reason…or not…
But once you’re out of the car…if they ask to search it, you can say no…
“..If we have probable cause or if we see something in plain sight, which gives up probable cause, then we can. but just, if we don’t have probable cause or don’t see anything then they can tell us no,” Trooper Nease said.
And if you feel like the traffic stop is making you uncomfortable or taking a turn for the worst…don’t call 9-1-1, instead:
“If they disagree the side of the road is not the place to argue. the easiest thing to do is appear on your court date, explain your side to the judge and let him make a determination about how he feels about the charge,” said Trooper Nease.
Georgia State Patrol also recommends that you try not to:
-Make any quick movements, like: reaching your hand under your seat or in a glove compartment before an officer gets to your car.
-Or getting out of the car before an officer has the chance to approach and explain him or herself.