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In an on-going effort to serve the community in the most professional and responsive manner possible, the South Los Angeles Sheriff's Station has initiated a social media based community outreach program entitled "Myth vs. Fact: The Law and You."

The purpose of this program will be to provide weekly legal and/or sheriff's department policy information to the community through the use of social media. The community will also be afforded the opportunity to e-mail questions directly to the station for discussion or clarification.

This week's topic: Does a law enforcement officer have the right to ask someone to step out of his or her car during a routine traffic stop?

It's that sinking feeling most people have experienced at one time or another; you look in your rear view mirror and see flashing red and blue lights. After pulling to the shoulder of the road, an officer walks up to your window and asks to see your license and registration. The officer then tells you he has stopped you for speeding and asks you to step out of your car. Does an officer have the right to do this? The answer is yes.

Time and time again, the United States Supreme Court has upheld the right of a law enforcement officer to order any and/or all occupants out of a vehicle during a traffic stop, even routine ones. The reasoning behind this to minimize the "inherent" danger ALL traffic stops pose to an officer.

Although a certain level of anxiety will always be present during a traffic stop, should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being pulled over and asked to step out of your car, please rest assured this is something an officer is legally entitled to do.

If you ever have a question about the actions of an officer, you are encouraged to contact the officer's agency for clarification.

For additional questions or comments about anything discussed in this topic, please feel free to e-mail South Los Angeles Station at

South Los Angeles Sheriff's Station

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

(323) 820-6700

Twitter @LASD_News!/LASD_News

Sheriff Leroy D. Baca

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

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