How to Handle a Traffic Stop with Maryland Police


Flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror while driving in Baltimore can make anyone feel uneasy. Maryland police officers cannot stop your vehicle unless they witness you break a traffic rule or have reasonable suspicion to believe that you are violating a law. However, a variety of circumstances and driving behaviors may constitute reasonable suspicion and lead to a legitimate stop.

Traffic stops are the most frequent encounters with police officers, and it’s essential to know how to handle this situation should it arise. Here are the critical points on how to handle getting pulled by over a Maryland police officer.

What Should I Do When Getting Pulled Over in Maryland?

If a Maryland police officer pulls you over for a traffic violation, know your rights, be polite, and do your best to remain calm. Generally, if you keep those tips in mind, you’ll soon be on your way.

More law enforcement officers are killed during traffic stops than any other encounter. In the police officer’s mind, they are aware of being next to high-speed traffic, exposed to anyone who may accidentally or purposefully harm them. You can be sure they are exercising extreme caution and don’t want anything out of the ordinary to happen.

While the courts have allowed police officers considerable discretion based on an array of U.S. Supreme Court cases, there are rules that they must follow during a traffic stop.

What Maryland Police Can Legally Do During a Traffic Stop

  • Request your driver’s license, registration, and insurance information
  • Ask you to step out of your vehicle, even without a reason
  • Ask any passengers to step out of your vehicle
  • Pat you down to search for weapons for their personal safety
  • Search your car, if they have reasonable articulable suspicion to believe it contains evidence of a crime
  • Search locked compartments in your car, like your trunk and glove box, if they have probable cause

What to Do If Police in Maryland Pull You Over

  • Stop the car at the nearest safe and well-lit place
  • Remain calm and avoid using sudden movements
  • Keep your hands visible on the steering wheel; failing to visibly show your hands gives the officer the opportunity to sweep the car for weapons and anything else they may find
  • Answer questions directly without providing more information than is necessary
  • Present your driver’s license, registration, and insurance as quickly and efficiently as possible
  • Look to see if there’s a dash camera or other recording mechanism to document the traffic stop; these recordings help guarantee your rights are protected and can be used as evidence in a potential case
  • Do not grant permission for your vehicle being searched
  • Do not admit guilt to anything
  • Remain silent except when identifying your name, driver’s license, insurance information, and vehicle registration

A word of advice is to keep your registration in a place other than your glove box if you easily get nervous. Knowing exactly where your registration and insurance information are kept will help you quickly provide these documents to the police without worrying about having misplaced it.

Remain polite and silent, except when answering necessary information. This is key to effectively handling being stopped by police. If the officer is rude to you, resist the urge to argue. Instead, contact an experienced Maryland defense attorney with experience handling traffic cases to argue for you in court.

What Are My Rights When Pulled Over in Maryland?

Keep in mind that it’s your right to record what is happening as long as it doesn’t interfere or obstruct the officer’s ability to perform their job. Unlike citizens, police officers do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when performing their jobs that would require you to notify them of the recording.

Speak With a Seasoned Criminal Traffic Attorney in Baltimore

Once Maryland police officers have stopped you, countless scenarios can lead to a search. If police illegally searched you or violated your rights during a traffic stop in Maryland, contact The Law Office of Hillel Traub for help.

Attorney Hillel Traub is a passionate advocate defending all types of traffic violations for his clients in Baltimore and throughout Maryland. As former Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland MVA, Hillel Traub has a unique understanding of the traffic violations court system. To schedule a free consultation, complete an online contact formor call today at (410) 850-1100.