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Traffic Stop

Why were you stopped? What should you do? And what will the police officer do?  These are some of the questions the St. Augustine Police Department would like to answer and share with you, in the event you get pulled over by the police.

Why where you stopped?

  • Your driving behavior has drawn attention and raised concern for your own safety or the safety of others.
  • We may have noticed faulty equipment on the vehicle, you may not be aware of.
  • You may have committed a traffic violation.
  • You may have witnessed a crime or may have just left the area of where a crime was committed and the officer may need your help in the investigation of a crime.
  • You may fit the description of a suspect.
  • They may have probable cause to make an arrest, or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity based on personal observations, other officers, the police radio information given or a witness.

Whichever the case may be, we ask that you cooperate and be patient with us.

What should you do if you get pulled over?

  • With caution immediately pull over to the nearest right-hand edge or curb.
  • Remain in your vehicle, keep hands visible and do not fumble around for your wallet.
  • Wait for the officer to approach your vehicle and gives you instructions.
  • Cooperate and provide the information you are asked for.
  • Ask for an explanation if it is unclear.
  • Do not be nervous nor angry…overreacting may make the situation worse.
  • Accepting a citation is not admission of guilt and you will have the option to contest the citation in court, after the fact.

What will the police officer do?

Ask for basic information:

  • Do you know why you were stopped?
  • What is your name?
  • Where do you live?
  • Ask for your drivers license and registration.
  • Ask questions related to the stop.
  • Verify your identity.
  • Check your drivers license status.
  • Give you a warning or issue a traffic citation; Or make an arrest if he/she has probable cause to do so.

An officer only needs to have probable cause to make an arrest if he/she believes a crime has occurred, is occurring or is about to occur.

Justification for Police Action

A police officer only needs reasonable suspicion to stop and question a motorist. In effort, to make it a safe stop for everyone involved, we are asking for your cooperation during the stop.

If the officer suspects you have done something wrong, if you appear to fit the suspect description, if you have broken a law or committed a crime, the officer has justification.

If the police officer has determined that there are reasonable grounds to act, he/she is legally justified and should investigate further. You have the right to choose not to answer any questions. However, you should be aware that your guilt or innocence is not decided at this point.

If a police officer suspects you are armed he/she is allowed to frisk you for any weapons. This is a routine procedure to ensure the safety of everyone.

Your cooperation and honesty can greatly reduce the time the officer needs to complete the questioning and the stop.

Move Over: It's the Law

If you are not the subject of a traffic stop, but see an emergency unit with their overhead lights on, it is a state law that you move over (Move Over Act) if traffic permits you to. Failure to do so, may warrant a traffic stop and a citation.