It Happened: Law enforcement turns their lights and siren to pull you over.
To preserve your Constitutional protections, regardless of whether you believe the police have a valid reason for stopping you, it is always best to safely pull over. You can also acknowledge law enforcement by turning on your flashers to let them know that you see their lights.
If you flee, then you risk giving police officers both probable cause and exigent circumstances to lawfully search the vehicle without a warrant. DO NOT FLEE.
Your fundamental right to privacy is triggered by pulling over and complying with law enforcement because it establishes that a seizure has occurred – law enforcement has restrained your freedom of movement.
Do not divulge unnecessary information.
During a traffic stop, your right to remain silent cannot be overlooked; you have the right to refuse to answer. Anything you say during the stop can be used against you and can be used as a reason for police to arrest you. (For instance, the officer does not need to know you are on your way to smoke a joint.)
Avoid disclosing any information that is not directly relevant to why you are being pulled over.
If an officer asks you if you know why you were pulled over, a simple “no, officer, I don't know why you stopped me” will suffice here.
Comply with requests for basic information.
Upon request, show them your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance.
Comply with a request to step out of the vehicle.
An officer is permitted to ask you to step out of the vehicle where the officer lawfully stopped you for a traffic violation, even if the officer has no reason to suspect foul play.
You should oblige an officer's request to step out of the vehicle, not doing so would only raise suspicion. This request is largely made for the officer's safety and you do not want to appear as a threat to the officer's safety.
Do not give consent to search.
During a traffic stop, privacy is the core value protected by the applicable constitutional provisions. Do not forfeit your right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by being deliberately difficult or refusing the above basic requests. However, if an officer asks to search the vehicle, politely decline.
If you need additional information or assistance on your case, call our firm today.
By: Corey A. Bauer, Esq & Eric Scott Wyant II, Esq.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.