What should you do when you are stopped by police in your car?

Stop as soon as possible at the nearest safe location without blocking traffic. Leave room on the driver side of the road for the police officer to safely approach you.

After pulling-over, what should you do?

Open your car window, but NOT your door. Do not get out of your car unless you are asked by the police. Do not make any sudden movements or bend down. Keep your hands visible at all times. If it is dark outside, turn on the dome light. Be polite, follow the instructions and stay calm.

If we are in a hurry or in an emergency situation, should we inform the police officer?

Stop the vehicle. Explain to the officer the nature of the emergency situation and ask for his/her assistance.

Do we have the right to ask for the police officer’s identification, rank, police department he/she works or for the precinct location?

Yes, it is the responsibility of the police officer to provide his/her identification at traffic spot. Please ask in a polite manner. If the officer refuses, you still need to cooperate.

Can we record the conversation with the officer?

In Washington State, the law requires both parties’ consent in order to legally record the conversation. Do not record the conversation without the officer’s consent, and the consent must also be recorded.

What do you do if the officer is abusive, humiliating or disrespectful?

Stay calm. Follow officer’s instructions at all times. Request the officer’s identification. After the incident, report your complaints to the police or consult a lawyer.


This article is made available by Lee & Lee, PS for educational purposes only. The intent is to give the reader general information and a general understanding of the law. The article does not provide specific legal advice. Readers of this article should understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the writers. Furthermore, the article is not a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.