Maryland State Police: What to Expect During a Traffic Stop

March 17, 2021

Being stopped for a traffic violation can be a stressful time for both you and the police officer. Maryland State Troopers are trained to maintain professionalism and courtesy during every traffic stop.


• A Greeting with the name of the Trooper and the reason why you were stopped
• A uniformed Trooper or the presentation of a badge and / or identification card
• A polite, respectful tone from the Trooper
• Answers to reasonable questions
• Prompt action in completing the citation / warning / SERO and traffic checks
• An explanation of the citation / warning / SERO
• Probable cause that a crime is being committed permits the Trooper to search your vehicle without your consent
• A Trooper may ask for consent to search you vehicle. If consent is requested, you may be asked to consent in writing on a form provided by the Trooper. You have the right to refuse a request for consent to search your vehicle.


Traffic stops are never routine. More than half of the police officers who die in the line of duty each year are killed during traffic stops. Each day Troopers encounter impaired drivers, illegal firearms, drugs, fugitives, and drivers with suspended licenses. This is why Troopers are trained to place a great deal of emphasis on their safety and take a defensive posture until the risk of confrontation or injury is diminished. With this in mind, we ask that you:

• Carry proper identification and paperwork including a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration card and proof of insurance
• When signaled by the Trooper to stop, look for the nearest, safest place to position you vehicle so that it is as far out of the traffic lane as possible. Never stop in a traffic lane.
• Stay in your vehicle. If asked to exit, do so slowly.
• Remain calm. Ask passengers to remain quiet and cooperative.
• Keep your seatbelt fastened until the Trooper has seen you wearing it.
• Keep your hands in view, preferably on the steering wheel and do not reach down, duck or make any sudden movements
• Turn off your engine and stereo; roll down your window so the Trooper can speak with you
• Don’t be surprised if another patrol car appears. This helps ensure the Trooper’s safety.
• Treat the Trooper the way you want to be treated.

I hope this helps clear up some things and answers some questions you may have. If there are any other questions or concerns that you have and would like an answer, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].