The Police, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
The Automobile

The Police
If a police officer stops your car, even if it is not apparent to you what you might have done anything wrong, stay in your vehicle and let the officer come to you. Police officers deal with violent criminals every day of their careers. Traffic violation stops may be occasions to bring in a true criminal once the police investigate. Because of this, police may interpret your getting out of the car as a possible threat. Stay in your car, roll down the window, and be ready to cooperate fully with the officer. The officer will need to see your driverís license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration documents.

Be aware that if the officer givers you a ticket for an infraction, such as speeding, it may cause your insurance rates to go up in addition to being expensive in its own right. Do not argue with the officer. Make the officer feel important. Apologize if you have violated any rule. You always have the chance that the officer will give you a warning rather than a summons for the infraction. There is also always the chance that you are being stopped for an alcohol breath test or because police are looking for a vehicle similar to the one you are driving.

A traffic ticket is never a pleasant experience. If you receive one, pay it as soon as possible to avoid further penalties. Note that if you antagonize the officer, you have no idea of how you may be treated. Police officers can find many things wrong with your car if they look hard enough, and give you an expensive summons for each one.

Should you be tempted to bribe an officer, you should be aware that such an attempt could backfire on you. Not only might the attempted bribe be rejected, it might also cause you to be arrested and charged with a criminal offence.

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