DC Traffic Stops and Tickets

Pulled over and issued a citation in Washington, DC? Here’s what you should know regarding the traffic stop and how to handle a ticket according to a DC traffic lawyer. For more specific information on what to do call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.

Accepting a Traffic Ticket in Washington, DC

If the officer asks you to sign for acceptance of the ticket, it may not be in your best interest to do so because it is a stressful situation, and you don’t know necessarily what you’re signing. You might be signing something that admits liability or guilt. For this reason, you should give it to a lawyer who can then challenge the ticket. Additionally, if you’re in fact arrested for a DUI, then you’ll want to challenge the ticket as well.

Answering the Officer’s Questions

One example would be when an officer asks if you knew you were speeding. The officer is attempting to get you to incriminate yourself, however you’re under no obligation to incriminate yourself. One way to avoid this is to, very politely, decline to answer the question. Another appropriate response is to say either nothing or say, “Truthfully I don’t know what my speed was,” most defense attorneys would not advise anyone ever to admit to anything that could be incriminating.

You can say, “No, I wasn’t speeding,” if that’s in fact true. But the officer is likely trying to engage you in conversation to get you to say something incriminating. The way officers are trained to do this is by trying to get you to answer relatively simple questions to engage you in that conversation in order to get you to let your guard down. This, however, is not something that people should fall for.

Being Pulled Over By an Unmarked Vehicle or Plainclothes Officer

If that happens, you need to ask to see the officer’s credentials, identification, or a badge. Sometimes you may want to try to request or record the officer’s badge or the credentials in order to know who you’re being stopped by. Often, a marked police car will show up with somebody who’s actually qualified to administer a standardized field sobriety test.

You should be very careful because there have been instances where people have been pulled over by someone who is impersonating a police officer.

Mistakes to Avoid When Being Pulled Over at a DUI Stop

You should avoid giving any indication that you’re trying to flee. Additionally, avoid excessive movements in the car, because this may indicate to the officer that you’re trying to hide something. You should also avoid excessive conversation; you’re under no obligation to answer questions besides basic biographical information.