I've been pulled over a couple of times in my life. It mainly happened when I was a teenager that thought speeding was SUPER fun and cool. I think back on all of the tickets I've paid for being an idiot and it makes me feel sort of nauseous. Now, I tend to drive like a granny, and I'm hyper-aware of my surroundings and any police vehicles out on the roads.

On one occasion, I was pulled over in Lamesa. I was about 16 years old.  The officer honestly really scared me. She demanded I exit the vehicle and talk to her while standing on the shoulder of the highway. I complied. I was only going a few miles over the speed limit. I apologized while she berated me and terrified me before she let me go on my way with a ticket. I think about it every once in a while, and I wonder if she handled that situation appropriately, or if I really deserved to be spoken to that way. Did I actually HAVE to get out of the car? Did I even HAVE to roll down my window?

What are the actual rules for drivers when they get pulled over in Texas?

Let's see what Texas law has to say...

According to AustinTexas.Gov, the first thing you should do when you see police lights flashing behind you is slow down and pull off to the right of the roadway until you find a safe place to stop. If it's nighttime, you should turn on the interior dome light so that you can be seen. It's also suggested that you turn on your flashers. You should also limit your movement in the vehicle because an officer might think you are looking for a weapon or doing something else nefarious that might require further investigation.

There is actually no law in Texas that requires you to roll down your window during a traffic stop, but the officer DOES have the legal authority to ask you to roll down your window, and you DO have to comply with "any lawful order or direction given by a police officer." If you don't comply, you could even be given a Class C misdemeanor, which carries fines of up to $500. If the scenario in which you refuse to roll down your window somehow endangers an officer, the offense could then become a Class B misdemeanor, which carries even larger fines and possible jail time.

So, the answer to whether or not you HAVE to roll down your window is both "no" and "yes"...which is sort of confusing.

If you are concerned about whether or not they are a real police officer, you can roll your window down an inch and ask to see their ID badge. Every single Texas peace officer has a department-issued ID card and they have to provide it to you if you ask for it. If you still don't feel safe in the situation, call 9-1-1 and tell the operator what's going on so that they can further assist you.

It's generally just a good idea to go ahead and roll down the window. If the officer asks you to get out of your vehicle, it's best to just comply. You can always argue your case in court later if you feel like something wasn't quite right. That may not be what you want to do at that moment, but it's better to not escalate the situation if you can.

Drive safe out there, y'all!

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