Traffic Stops

Common Reasons To Be Stopped

Traffic safety for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists remains one of the largest public safety concerns in Saint Peter, so traffic education and enforcement are important roles for police officers. While drivers may be stopped to ensure they have a valid driver’s license, permit, and insurance and that they are not impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, the most likely reason why people are stopped while driving is for committing an offense against the Minnesota Traffic Code. Officers have discretion in issuing tickets.


Offenses fall into two categories:

  1. Moving Violations: Include improper lane changes, failure to stop at a red light or stop sign, driving in excess of the posted speed limit, etc.
  2. Non-Moving Violations: Include occupants not wearing seat belts, children not restrained properly, a tail light or brake light not working correctly, or failure to possess a license, registration, or insurance, etc.

Other Reasons Individuals May Be Stopped While Driving

  • Courtesy or safety concerns, such as when your trunk is open, something is hanging from your vehicle, or something is on top of your vehicle, may also lead to stops
  • Criminal driving infractions especially impaired driving but also dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and others
  • Criminal investigations often involve officers looking for a suspect, a witness, or a suspect vehicle. You or your vehicle and/or its occupants may match the description the officer is looking for
  • A warrant exists for the arrest of an occupant of the vehicle

Things To Do When Stopped

Officers are trained to place a great deal of emphasis on their safety and yours so they can do the job of protecting the public and ensuring public safety. Many of these guidelines conform to safety procedures, based on long experience, that officers are trained to follow.

Pull Over

When you see the red lights and/or hear the siren, remain calm and safely pull over to the right side of the road (or nearest edge of the roadway on one way streets).

Wait for the Officer

Remain seated in your vehicle unless the officer advises otherwise. It may take the officer some time to approach your vehicle for safety reasons.

Present Your Documents

Minnesota law requires drivers to produce their license, and insurance card upon demand of a police officer. If your documents are out of reach, tell the officer where they are before you reach for them.

Additional Tips

  • It is imperative that you identify yourself correctly.
  • If the stop occurs during darkness, turn on your dome or interior lights so the officer can easily see the interior of your car.
  • If there are passengers in your vehicle, encourage them to stay seated in the vehicle, remain quiet and cooperate with instructions.
  • The officer may issue you a ticket. If you feel the reason is vague or unclear, ask the officer for details.
  • Avoid getting in an argument. If you wish to contest the ticket, you will have an opportunity to address the matter in court.
  • If you receive a ticket, accept it calmly. Accepting the ticket is not an admission of guilt.
  • If you do not agree with the reason for the ticket, you have the right to contest it by going to District Court.
  • If you do not agree with the officer's conduct or actions during the stop, keep track of all pertinent information, including the officer's name and badge number. You have the right to complain at the police station if Officers are unable to handle your complaint on the scene.

Your Responsibilities

As the driver, you are responsible for:

  • Ensure that the person driving the vehicle possesses a valid driver's license
  • Ensuring that all passengers are wearing their seatbelts or in a proper car seat, and that the children are properly secured
    • Children are not to ride on another person’s lap
    • Seatbelts are required, failure to wear one could result in a ticket
  • Ensuring that the vehicle being driven is insured and that the required documents are in the vehicle
  • The safe operation of the vehicle you are driving and the condition of the vehicle