The Illinois vehicle code is a massive compilation of laws clocking in at over 650 pages! In other words, a police officer doesn’t have to look too hard for a reason to pull you over. While it’s really easy to get nervous during a routine traffic stop, remember that the officer is only trying to keep the roads safe for everyone. So take a deep breath and follow these steps:
1. Pull over, ideally from the righthand side, as soon as it’s safe to do so. If you need to drive a little further down the road, do it slowly and with your hazards on.
2. Stay in the car. Turn off the engine and roll your window down. It’s a good idea here to put your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer to walk up to your window.
3. When the officer does ask for your ID, registration, or proof of insurance, he or she will appreciate if you tell them where the documents are before reaching for them. Take a little time out in advance to make sure your glove compartment is nice and orderly. It’ll save you a lot of time and pressure during a stop.
4. Do not get defensive or argue with the officer. If you feel that the stop wasn’t justified, argue your case in traffic court. Judges in Kankakee County are fairly understanding, but it always helps to have an attorney on your side.
5. Don’t admit guilt BUT you can consider apologizing for minor infractions. It may get you off with just a warning. Keep in mind that that if you want to contest the ticket, an apology can be considered an admission.
6. Be prepared to tell the officer if you have a licensed gun in the vehicle. Illinois law doesn’t mandate that you do this right off the bat, but you and all your passengers must tell the officer if there is a gun in the vehicle when he or she asks.
7. Always sign the citation. Remember, it’s not an admission of guilt, just an acknowledgment that you received the ticket. You can always have your day in court.
This article is about non-felony traffic stops. We’ll tackle the more complex stop in another post. It is also not intended to replace legal advice. We can only offer that if you call us! Read more about Lawson & O’Brien here.