How to behave if a policeman stops you in the USA: advice from a Russian-speaking immigrant
Author of the channel "Russian American" on "Yandex.Zen" talked about her own repeated experience of communicating with American police and gave advice in case the police stopped you on the road to the United States. Further - from the first person.
I have been driving a car in America for over 10 years. Of course, everything happened, and drove by youth, and missed the brake lights, and even somehow turned onto the street with one-way oncoming traffic.
My general impression of the local law enforcers is that they are very reasonable guys. If the violation is serious, you will receive a fine, and if it is minor, they will look at how you behave and what violations you have had in the past. For the first violations, they are often released and given only a warning.
Once I was stopped for speeding, when I actually exceeded it, and a fine was slapped. Of course, it was offensive, but at least for the cause.
All other meetings with the police were much nicer.
A couple more times I was stopped for very minor violations. And both times the situation developed in the same way. The policeman came up to my car, introduced himself, said why he stopped me. Realizing what my mistake was, I apologized and tried to roughly explain what had happened. The officer asked me for my documents and I gave him what was required. After that, the policeman went to his car, checked my data, and a few minutes later returned to return my documents and warn me about the need to avoid the same mistake in the future. And also - to wish you a happy journey.
I remember in those moments I was in quiet horror. How is it that they didn’t give me a fine or something worse? I grew up in a country where policemen scared children and did not expect anything good from the authorities. And at first it was strange for me to see a normal human attitude. Of course, the absence of accidents and the criminal past in my history helped me then. Like the fact that for 10+ years I had only one fine.
Here are the top three tips for anyone stopped by a policeman in America:
- do not argue with them;
- Be friendly and respectful;
- just do what they ask you to, or clearly say that you don’t speak English and do not understand what they are saying.
When I first arrived in the USA, I was afraid of the police. Now I often turn to them if I can’t find the building I need, or if I have a question. A couple of times I had to go to the police stations to get some documents, and each time they helped me without problems and with a smile. Honestly: they have a difficult job, and I am very grateful to them for everything that they do.
Original column published on the blog. "Russian American" on "Yandex.Zen"
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