First of all, remain calm. Commuting can be hectic and seeing those flashing lights behind you in that hectic moment could trigger a slight panic attack. Our clients ask us all the time: What should I do or say to officers if I’m pulled over? We compiled this guide to help you out.
Pull Over Safely
When an officer initiates his traffic lights behind your vehicle, you need to pull over as soon as possible. Try to stop at a spot where the officer can safely reach the window of your vehicle. Additionally, try to be mindful of impeding traffic. If you can, pull off to the shoulder of the road or into a parking lot. Try to have your driver’s license and proof of insurance ready for the officer.
“What am I being stopped for?”
Being cordial with the officer may help, but this should be the first question you ask the officer pulling you over. Officers may try to ask you, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” This is an investigative tactic used by officers and attempting to answer the question could potentially result in you admitting to crimes you unknowingly committed. Politely decline to answer the officer’s question and ask if they can inform you as to why you are being stopped.
“Am I being detained?”
If an officer suspects a driver of being intoxicated or possessing something illegal, he may want to investigate further. If you are ever asked to step out of a vehicle, ask if you are being detained. If the officer affirms that you are being detained, comply with the officer’s order. If the officer says you are not being detained, ask if you are free to leave. Do not consent to warrantless searches. Remember, officers need probable cause to search your vehicle.
“I’d like to speak to an attorney.”
In the event that you are arrested following a traffic stop, there is really nothing you can say to help your case. No matter the issue, it is in your best interest not to speak. When officers say, “Anything you say can and will be used against you in court,” they mean just that! Informing the officers that you would like to speak with an attorney should halt any further questioning. Remember, at this point, the officers are looking to build a case against you—do not give them any statements to work with.
Contact Us Today to Speak With a Lawyer About Your Rights
In any encounter with law enforcement, it is important to be aware of your rights. Additionally, you should be cognizant of how you are interacting with law enforcement. You can do this by brushing up on traffic laws in areas in which you are a frequent commuter. Know the speed limit, make sure the driver and passengers are wearing seatbelts, and do not drive intoxicated. If you are facing criminal charges after being pulled over, contact an experienced traffic defense attorney today.