Morgan County Sheriff Department
If You Get Pulled Over
Why Would A Deputy Sheriff or Other Police Stop You? There are many different reasons why you may be stopped by a law enforcement officer. Whatever the reason, your cooperation is requested and appreciated. A few of the possible reasons for being stopped:
• The Deputy may want to warn you about a potentially dangerous situation, such as no tail lights or a problem with your car.
• You may have committed a traffic violation.
• Your vehicle may match the description of one used in a criminal act.
• The Deputy might think you are in trouble and need help, your driving may indicate a possible medical problem.
• You may have knowingly or unknowingly witnessed a crime.
If you are stopped by a Deputy while driving, you may be confused, anxious, or even angry. These are natural feelings, but remember, traffic stops can also be stressful and dangerous for the Deputy.
Each year, a number of law enforcement officers are killed or injured while making a “routine” traffic stop. Officers are especially vulnerable during the hours of darkness. With this in mind, there are things you, as a law abiding citizen, can do to lessen the uneasiness of the experience.
What Should You Do If Stopped By A Deputy Sheriff?
When you see the red/blue emergency lights and it appears that the Deputy is attempting to stop you, and not pass you on an emergency call, remain calm, slow down and pull over in a safe location on the shoulder or nearby parking lot.
Do not exit your vehicle unless instructed to do so. This is for safety reasons. (Each year officers and pedestrians are struck by passing vehicles.)
At night, turn on your interior dome lights.
Keep your hands in a position where the Deputy can see them, preferably on the steering wheel.
Inform the Deputy of any weapons in your vehicle and their location. Do not reach or point to the location. Avoid any sudden movements, for any reason!
Comply with the Deputy's request to see your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance. If the documents are out of reach, tell the Deputy where they are before you reach for them.
If there are passengers present in the vehicle, encourage them to remain quiet and cooperate with instructions. You, as the operator, are responsible for your vehicle and occupants.
Avoid becoming argumentative. Arguing will not change the Deputy’s mind. If you wish to contest a violation, you will have an opportunity to address the matter in court.
Answer all questions truthfully. The Deputy may issue a warning or a summons for the violation. If the reason is vague or unclear, politely ask the Deputy for details.
Our department no longer request that you sign a summons for most traffic violations, but If asked to sign a summons, it is "Not" an admission of guilt.
Understand that each situation is unique and the Deputy must alter his or her response to fit the circumstances of the traffic stop. Generally; however, a Deputy will provide his or her name upon request, will inform you of the reason you're being stopped, and will only arrest a person for a violation of a traffic law committed in the officer’s presence, or when the officer has probable cause to believe the person has already committed the crime.
Thank You for your co-operation.
What If I get a ticket / summons for a traffic violation?
This link to the Morgan County Prosecutor’s Office can answer most of your questions, click on the "Traffic" tab.
Webmaster: Randy Manley