Q&A: Pulled over by the police? What are your rights?


Can the police stop me for any reason? Yes.

If signalled, must I pull over? Yes.

What do the police have to do to make it clear that they want me to pull over?

 flash their blue lights or headlights  beep the horn  point to the left to tell you that you need to pull over.

Does being pulled over always mean that I’ve done something wrong? No.

Should I stay in the car or get out to speak to the officer?

Stay in the car unless told to get out.

Can I ask the police officer for identification? Yes.

Do I have to be able to produce my ID or carry it with me?

No, but you must be able to produce to the police officer or present at a police station within 7 days any of the following:  your driving license  your insurance certificate  your MOT certificate.

What gives a police officer the right to ask me for a breath test? If:  they think you’ve been drinking  you’ve committed a traffic offence  you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident.

Can I refuse to be tested? Yes, but if you don’t have a reasonable excuse e.g. being physically unable to provide a sample for some reason, you could be arrested.

What if I’m found to be over-the- limit? You’ll be taken to the police station for another test, if it’s positive, you’ll be charged, if it’s not, you’ll be free to go.

What happens if I’ve taken drugs? If a police officer suspects that you’ve taken drugs, s/he can ask you to:  take a drug test  do a physical test (a ‘field impairment test’), e.g. walk in a straight line then turn round and walk back.

What happens if I fail the test? You can be arrested.

Can I drive back home afterwards? If you fail a breath or drugs test you can’t drive your car until you’re sober. You can ask someone else to collect your car for you.

On what grounds can a police officer give a fixed penalty notice? They can issue these for less serious traffic offences.

These include:  careless or inconsiderate driving  using a mobile phone while driving  not wearing a seatbelt  driving too close to another vehicle.

What does a fixed penalty notice lead to? If you get a fixed penalty notice, you may be fined up to £100 and get penalty points on your licence.

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