How to Talk with Your Teen About What To Do When Pulled Over by the Police

With the discussions about the interaction between police officers and the public, we here at the Aaron Law Firm thought it would be helpful to put out a guide for interaction with the police.

It is in everyone’s best interest if your child’s interactions with the police go as smoothly as possible and avoid trouble where possible.  Take the time to have this conversation with your teen, even if you have had a similar conversation with them.

Parents prepare your child and prepare your vehicle

You need to prepare your teen for this situation by remaining calm, take a deep breath, and listen to what the Police Officer is asking. There are many things that an officer can say that may confuse your teen, make sure they know their rights, and how to act they are pulled over. Go over this with your teen and make sure they are ready.  Make sure they know local traffic laws.

Prepare your vehicle by having a Ziplock bag with your vehicle’s registration, current insurance card, and your child’s driver’s license in it.  Either tuck it into the strap of the sun visor above the driver’s seat or secure it with a rubber band to the sun visor.   This will allow your child to get the information with their hands visible to the police officer.  Once they have provided this packet to the officer, then they can tell the officer where their original license is located and ask for permission to retrieve it.  YOUR CHILD MUST HAVE THEIR ORIGINAL, VALID DRIVERS LICENSE WITH THEM WHEN THEY ARE OPERATING A VEHICLE.

Instruct your teen that if a police officer is behind them with his emergency lights on, to pull over to a lighted area that is away from traffic; make sure to use the blinker so the officer knows what direction the car is pulling over; if pulling to the side of the road, make sure that there is not a ditch that the car will become stuck in. If there is not a safe place, then put flashers on and maintain safe legal speed until the car can be safely pulled over.

Your teen should have their driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration and provide to the police officer. If your teenager is asked, “Do you know why you were pulled over?” Their response should just respond “No sir” or “No Ma’am”

Remain calm, confirm that it is a police officer, it is okay to ask for the police officer’s identification if the police officers refuse to provide you something other than a badge that is on his uniform call 911 immediately.

When calling 911 from a cell phone always give your location first and then your name and then why you are calling.

Always be respectful to the Police Officer, even when you feel they are not being respectful to you.  Keep your hands where the police officer can see your hands.  The police officer will ask you to get off the phone while he is talking with you.  If you are on the phone with your parent, then lay the phone and put it on speakerphone.  Parents let your child handle the situation unless it becomes you feel that it has become a situation that they cannot handle

If the police officer asks about searching your car, tell the officer that this is not your car and that he will have to talk to your parents to get permission.  Below is a card, that if you email I will send you a copy, that you give to the police officer.  A copy is below.

Do not be afraid to call your parents.  Make sure that the police officer knows that you are a minor.

PARENTS WHEN YOUR CHILD IS PULLED OVER IS NOT THE TIME FOR A TEACHABLE MOMENT, make sure they are safe and that the police officer understands that though you are respectful of the law, you are concerned about your child.  Ask why they were pulled over if it is speeding or a moving violation request that you stay on the phone until the police officer completes the ticketing process.  If it is a more serious issue then ask if your child going to be arrested, where they will be taken to, how much the normal bond is for that charge.  Then either get the cash needed for the bond or call a bail bondsmen and go down to the jail and get your child out of jail.

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