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Traffic Stops: What to Do
Traffic Stops: What to Do
If you are stopped by a deputy you may feel confused, anxious, or even angry. These are natural feelings, but remember, traffic stops can be stressful and extremely dangerous to the deputy as well. Each year a number of law enforcement officers are killed or seriously injured while conducting traffic stops.

With this in mind, below are tips listed that you as a law abiding citizen can do to help make the experience a more efficient, positive, and safe experience for both you and the deputy.

  • When you see the red and blue lights and/or hear the siren, remain calm and safely pull over onto the right shoulder of the road. If you are in an intersection, safely proceed through the intersection and immediately pull over to the right. It is not necessary to pull over in a legal parking space, if the deputy wants you to move your vehicle to another location he/she will advise you to do so.
  • Do not exit your vehicle unless otherwise the deputy instructs you to do so. Many times there is fast moving traffic present that is not only dangerous to you but to the deputy as well.
  • Be sure the deputy is wearing a uniform or is clearly identifiable as a Deputy Sheriff. If not, keep your door locked and ask for identification. Once you are satisfied you have been stopped by a Deputy Sheriff, roll your window down so the deputy may speak with you.
  • Avoid any sudden movements, especially towards the floorboards or under seats. Try to keep your hands where the deputy can see them. It is a good idea to rest both hands on the steering wheel.
  • Do not immediately reach for your license or other documents, wait until the deputy requests to see them. Texas law requires drivers to display their license, and insurance card to a law enforcement officer upon request.
  • If your documents are out of reach, tell the deputy where they are before you reach for them.
  • If the traffic stop occurs at nighttime, the deputy will likely use bright lights and flashlight to illuminate your vehicle.
  • If there are passengers in your vehicle, encourage them to remain quiet and cooperate with all instructions. As the operator, you are solely responsible for your vehicle and its occupants.
  • The Nolan County Sheriff's Office generally uses single-officer patrol units, and specialized vehicles. It is normal for additional deputies, state troopers, or other law enforcement officers to arrive on a traffic stop, especially at night. This is to ensure the deputy's safety.
  • If you are issued a citation, please accept it calmly. If you feel the reason is vague or unclear, ask the deputy for details.
  • Be honest with the deputy. If you really didn't see the stop sign, or were unaware of the speed limit, let the deputy know. Being honest about any situation is the best approach.
  • If you contest the violation, you will have an opportunity to address the matter in court, do not argue with the deputy.
  • Signing the citation is not an admission of guilt, it's only a promise that you will appear in court at a later time as indicated on the citation.
  • State law mandates that if you refuse to sign the citation, you will be arrested.

Each situation is unique and the deputy must alter his or her response to fit the circumstances.

Nolan County Sheriff's Office

Sweetwater, Nolan County, Texas 79556
Emergency 9.1.1 | Phone | Fax
Nolan County Crime Stoppers |