Being stopped by police and having Parkinson’s

Have you ever been stopped by the police because of tremor or movement issues related to a movement disorder?

My name is Marcia, and I wanted to provide guidance based on my recent experience of getting stopped by police. I raise awareness for Parkinson’s in Central Virginia, and am a Parkinson’s Advocate/Lobbyist.

Tips for interacting with police

  • Be prepared! Carry documentation of your diagnosis and medications.
  • Ask your doctor to provide you with a letter outlining your diagnosis and common symptoms.
  • Fill out a medication list that has your doctor’s phone number and is signed by your doctor, and carry it with you at all times.
  • Place one copy in your wallet next to your driver’s license or ID. It doesn’t hurt to have a spare copy or two!
  • These can be downloaded for free from the National Parkinson’s Foundation, International Essential Tremor Foundation, and Huntington’s Disease Society of America.
  • Be polite with the police officer. Give the officer your medication cards, doctor’s note, and identification. Explain to the officer that you have a movement disorder and stressful situations can make your symptoms worse.
  • Do not hesitate to ask to speak with a supervisor if you are experiencing problems communicating with the officer.
  • Ask for a ambulance if you feel your going to be sick, upset, stressed by the stop. Most emergency personnel are educated on PD and can help.
  • Be proactive! Visit your local police and/or fire department. Introduce yourself and make them aware of the handicap person living in their community. This can be helpful if they are called to your home and can help the local volunteers better understand your needs.
  • Understand your rights under the American Disability Act.


The American Disability Act is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by employers, businesses and state and local governments. Law enforcement agencies, as part of state and local government, must take steps to communicate effectively and make reasonable changes in policies, practices and procedures to provide people with disabilities the same services and protections as provided to other members of the public, within certain limitations.

Remember you are Federally handicap right and are covered under the ADA.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


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