Stopped by Traffic Police? Know your Rights!

हिंदी में पढ़ें
November 06, 2018
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty

It is a common phenomenon that is experienced by every other person at least once in their life- WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE STOPPED BY A TRAFFIC POLICE?  It is the job of a police officer to ensure that law and order in a society is maintained. And they are equipped with means and sometimes coercive albeit indispensable powers to ensure the same. The same principle applies to traffic police. The primary duty of a traffic police is to ensure the smooth movement of traffic and deter any rule breaking. However, there are times when you are being pulled over by a police for no apparent reason. In that scenario, it is pertinent to know what your are rights and what you should do when faced with similar situation.

Why are you being pulled over?

A traffic officer can stop a vehicle at any time and for any reason on any articulable suspicion, whether there is apprehension over your driving, suspicion over a traffic infraction or any other crime.


Powers of a Traffic Officer 

  1. A traffic officer is empowered to demand your driving license and inspect other necessary vehicle documents such as a registration certificate, insurance certificate, valid PUC certificate and a fitness permit. It is pertinent to carry the original documents and produce them when demanded. Failure on your part might lead to fine or arrest and court proceedings.

  2. He/She may impound your driving license and other vehicle documents if deemed necessary. Such police officer shall give to the person surrendering the license a temporary acknowledgement receipt. Such receipt shall authorise the holder to drive until the license has been returned or until such date specified in the acknowledgement receipt.

  3. A traffic officer is an absolute authority on a road. If he/ she gives you instructions, it is your duty to obey them, regardless of the electronic traffic signals.

  4. A police officer is empowered to seize and detain your vehicle if you are driving without your license, permits, and certificates or if your vehicle is not registered.

  5. A police officer in a uniform may arrest you without a warrant if you are found in his/her presence committing an offence such as driving dangerously or under influence of alcohol or using a vehicle without authority.


What to do when you are pulled over? 

  1. You must stop your car when signalled by a traffic police and produce the documents required by the officer; otherwise, you are breaking the law if you don’t.

  2. You may ask him the reason for stopping you; however, you should not get into an argument. If you feel there is a genuine reason behind breaking the rule, explain it to the officer.

  3. If you have committed any mistake, explain it to the officer candidly and seek his pardon. He may let you off with a warning if approached with courtesy.

  4. Do not drop names of policemen or influential people.

  5. If the police officer confiscates your driving license, you may compound the offence by paying a fine to the police officer under whose jurisdiction your license was confiscated otherwise you will be provided a notice from the court. In case you fail to appear before the court, an arrest warrant may be issued.

  6. If the police officer is an officer of a rank sub-inspector or above, you may compound the offence on the spot by paying a fine.


What to do when harassed by a Traffic Officer? 

  1. Never succumb to the illegal demands of a police officer

  2. Allow him to impound your license; do not attempt to bribe the traffic officer.

  3. Note down his buckle number/name, which shall be mentioned on the plate of his shirt. If he does not have one, you may demand his identity card. If he fails to provide his identity card, don’t give him your documents.

  4. You can approach the traffic police with a specific complaint indicating all the particulars about the incident; this must include details about the concerned police officer. It is desirable to send this complaint by registered post.

Read the complete Central Motor Vehicle Rules by LawRato to stay updated about your motor vehicle rights.


These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.

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User Reviews

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November 06, 2018 Stopped by Traffic Police? Know your Rights!

I have not paid the challan. Can they take my vehicle?

Radhika on Apr 30, 2019

Can you please share more detaisl on how to pay challan online?

Deepti on May 06, 2019

I have not received challan. How to find?

Arjun on May 10, 2019

thanks for the info. Rights are enlisted very well

Vani on May 20, 2019

I have been wrongly fined. What to do?

Dipak on May 24, 2019

Very nice article. English is very simple. Thank you for the information.

Sandeep on Jun 02, 2019

Excellent work. Very helpful for understanding the subject.

Sachin on May 07, 2019

nice work. Learned a lot. Thanks

Sarika on May 14, 2019

needed some more information on the subject.

Siddharth on May 08, 2019

Gave a clear understanding about my legal issue.

Madhuri on Apr 29, 2019

Very good article

Pratibha on May 04, 2019

how to contact a lawyer from your website

Renuka on Jun 01, 2019

Tells all the legalities about the subject. Good work.

Varun on Jun 05, 2019

good advice. Who can I contact for my legal issue?

Anupam on May 04, 2019

very informative. Can you tell more about this

Gaurav on May 29, 2019

I have a case. Who can I contact?

Surender on Jun 04, 2019

Good work with the article.

Nitesh on Jun 13, 2019

more info needed on the law

Amol on Jun 13, 2019

very well written

Lalit on Jun 04, 2019

Written plainly to be understood by anyone who is from a non-legal background.

Nagesh on May 28, 2019

Good work with the article. Solved all my legal queries. Regards.

Sushant on May 26, 2019