Getting Pulled Over by the Police
When pulled over by the police, whatever the reason, you have certain legal rights and there are some do’s and don’ts that could ultimately make your life a little easier.
You’re cruising down the road and maybe the kids are getting a little out of control, or maybe you get a little lost in the music playing when it happens…your speed accidentally creeps too high. Luckily the police aren’t there to give you a ticket every time this happens, but eventually almost everyone will look up to the sound of a siren or the flashing lights of the police in their rearview mirror and ultimately get a ticket. When this does happen, remember that you have certain rights, but also that there are certain behaviors that will make the ordeal a little easier for both you and police officer.
Probably the most important thing to remember is be as polite as possible and try to keep the situation from becoming contentious. No matter how angry you are or how unfair the situation is there is almost no chance that arguing with the officer is going to get you anywhere but further in trouble. There is also the common advice to keep hands where the officer can see them and to not make sudden movements. Remember, the police never know who they are approaching when they walk up to pulled over car. They could be approaching the nicest granny in the world to a murderer holding a gun. The police put their lives on the line everyday and hence they have to be ready at every moment.
Some other things you may or may not know:
– You do have to provide certain things like license, registration, insurance and name. However, depending on the state you may not have to answer other probing questions. Instead you can politely say that you don’t want to answer a particular question.
– Sometimes police will casually ask if they can see what’s in your pockets or look around your vehicle. You do not have to consent. The only case where police may proceed to search you or your vehicle is if there is probable cause or if you are placed under arrest.
– You have the right to ask for an attorney if you are arrested.
– If police are detaining you longer than is reasonable you have the right to ask if you are free to go. If yes, remain calm and obey all traffic laws as you do so.
If you do feel that your constitutional rights have been violated then take down the officer’s name and badge number and issue a complaint after the fact. Also remember that you may secure the services of a competent lawyer for cases that warrant it.