It happens to most of us at least once during our lifetime. You are driving home from work, from a night out with friends or from a long trip and you see the flashing lights from the patrol car of one of Colorado’s finest.

Depending upon why they decided to pull you over, officers will likely either give you a warning or write you a ticket. Whatever the reason, it’s essential that you avoid behavior that makes the officer feel that you are a threat to their safety.

Actions that can put you at risk

We see it in the news all the time when officers believe their own survival is threatened, and they take extreme measures to ensure their safety. Here are some things to avoid when you are pulled over:

  • Don’t be visibly nervous: Officers interpret nervous or agitated behavior in many different ways. They might think you’re hiding something or that you’re likely to become aggressive. Either one can invite a lethal response.
  • Don’t move around a lot: Just as you don’t want to appear nervous, officers consider erratic movements as potential threats. Stay in the car and keep your hands on the wheel until an officer gives you instructions.
  • Don’t be chatty: Even if you are innocent of speeding or drunk driving, or whatever violation the officer suspects you of committing, don’t argue with them and keep your answers short and to the point. If you think the officer is trying to trick you, answer, “I don’t know.”
  • Don’t be rude: While many people may be suspicious of police, not being polite is one reason that a warning can often turn into a ticket. Most officers want to keep the interaction calm and civil. Be respectful and avoid showing anger at all costs.
  • Don’t consent to a search: The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches. While police can search your vehicle if they have probable cause, you can refuse if they don’t and need to ask for your consent.

Being cool and collected protects your well-being

While being stopped by a Garfield County deputy or Glenwood Springs officer can be a stressful experience, even if you’ve done nothing wrong, there are many steps you can take to keep the interaction peaceful.

If officers pull you over on suspicion of a serious crime, such as DUI or drug possession, keep your cool and comply with their instructions. If you are arrested, ask for legal representation by an experienced defense attorney.