You never plan to get arrested or pulled over, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. If you find yourself pulled over on the side of a Las Vegas road, you need to know beforehand how to interact safely with the officer who parks behind you and approaches you.
In the moment, you might feel stressed or upset about the fact that you’ve been pulled over, but remember that you and the officer have the same goal: you both want to stay safe and let this interaction proceed as calmly and smoothly as possible.
As the person being pulled over, you have a certain set of responsibilities in your interaction with the officer. For instance, if have a weapon on your person, whether concealed or open-carry, you have the responsibility to let the officer know you have a weapon when he or she first approaches you.
In previous blog posts, we’ve talked about how to interact safely with police officers before, during, and after an arrest. Below, we’ll give you more specific tips on how to act if you get pulled over and have a weapons permit. Follow this protocol to ensure that your interaction with the arresting officers goes simply and safely.
1. Illuminate the Inside of the Vehicle at Night
If you get pulled over at night, it’s hard for the officer to see inside your vehicle. If he or she sees you moving inside the car but can’t see what you’re doing, he or she might start to get nervous. The officer will approach your car with a little more trepidation and even see himself or herself as being on the defensive.
To de-escalate the situation from the start, switch on your dome light, and then place your hands at ten and two on the car’s steering wheel as the officer approaches. Don’t make any out-of-the-ordinary movements, like stuffing something under your car seat or reaching for something out of sight.
2. Roll Down Your Window in the Officer’s Sight
Once the officer is near your car, he or she will gesture for you to roll down the window. You can do so beforehand, of course, but if you’re already worried about the situation, you can wait until the police officer is next to you to roll the window down. If you do so, you won’t have to make a motion out of the officer’s line of sight where he or she can’t see what you’re doing.
3. Tell the Officer That You’re Carrying a Firearm
When you get pulled over, you’re understandably stressed. But take a second to consider the situation from the police officer’s point of view. When they pull someone over, officers don’t know what type of person they’re going to encounter-the person in the car could be a crying teenager, a harried parent with a car full of kids, or, unfortunately, a dangerous person who could violently resist arrest.
Of course, the latter situation isn’t as likely to happen as the others, especially during a traffic stop. But police officers are trained to prepare for the worst. That means they approach any situation, including a regular DUI, as being potentially dangerous.
If an officer sees a gun in your car without explanation, the situation can escalate quickly, which is why it’s crucial to let the officer know that you have a weapons permit as soon as he or she starts to talk to you.
When the officer approaches your window, he or she will immediately ask for your license and registration. Before you move towards the glove box, let the officer know you’re carrying a firearm, and that you have a permit to do so. Then, ask the officer, “how do you want me to proceed?”
Your weapons permit is likely in your wallet with your license, but if you’re like many weapons carriers, you might have your wallet tucked into your back pocket, near where you holster your gun. You don’t want to make it look like you’re reaching for your gun when you pull out your wallet, so you should explain to the officer that you’re reaching for your wallet and that it’s located near your gun.
The officer might have you pull out the gun first just so it’s in plain sight. Remember to move slowly and carefully and not to make any sudden moves. In Nevada, you do have the right to open-carry or conceal-carry a weapon, but you do need to follow the officer’s instructions in terms of where to put your firearm during the stop or arrest.
Apply These Tips During a Stop
Remember that you’re not being criminalized for carrying your weapon-as long as you have a permit, you have the right to carry a gun with you in Nevada. But with gun ownership comes certain responsibilities, including acting safely when you get pulled over or arrested. Follow the tips above to make sure that you and the officer who pulls you over feel safe if you have a gun.
If your traffic stop results in an arrest, contact a bail bondsman from All Star Bail Bonds right away. We’ll ensure you don’t have to stay in jail any longer than necessary.