If you get pulled over by a police officer, it’s important to know your rights. These tips can help you avoid doing anything that might incriminate yourself, while letting you know what to expect if you have an encounter with the police while on the road. If you think a police officer may have violated your rights during a traffic stop, you can contact a defense attorney to find out what legal action you can take.
The Right to Remain Silent
During any interaction with a police officer, it’s a good idea to be as polite as possible. There’s no reason to avoid answering questions about your name, address, driving license, vehicle registration, and auto insurance, as the police officer can look up this information anyway. Beyond this basic information, it’s best to say as little as possible. There’s no need to get aggressive with the police officer; simply say that you would rather not answer if he asks you further questions. Staying silent is your legal right during a traffic stop, so don’t feel pressured to answer questions about the way you were driving.
The Right to Refuse a Search
A police officer can search your vehicle if you give them permission to do so. Usually, officers ask for this permission by saying “do you mind if I take a look inside?” If you don’t want them to search your car, simply state that you don’t give permission for a search. Note that police officers can still search your vehicle if they obtain a search warrant or if you have been arrested.
The Right to Ask to Leave
If you need to leave but aren’t sure whether you can legally do so, ask the police officer “am I free to go?” Police officers can only refuse this request if they arrest you. If the police officer says you can leave, drive away slowly and carefully to avoid getting into further trouble.
The Right to an Attorney
If you are arrested during a traffic stop, you have the right to a defense attorney. This professional can ensure that your rights are protected and advise you about how to behave during questioning. If the case goes to court, your attorney can defend you to reduce your risk of conviction or minimize your sentence.
How to Handle a Traffic Stop
Although you have the right to stay quiet or refuse a search of your vehicle, it’s never a good idea to have a bad attitude when interacting with the police. Be as polite as possible and avoid raising your voice or making any threats. Keep your hands where the officers can see them so they don’t interpret your movements as reaching for a weapon. Keeping calm can help you to stay safe and reduce the risk of a confrontation with the police.
Getting Help With a Traffic Stop or DUI
If you’ve been pulled over in Wichita, KS, get in touch with Jonathan W. McConnell. As an experienced defense attorney, Jonathan W. McConnell can help craft your defense and represent you in court if necessary. Whether you’re facing a DUI or need advice after a police officer failed to respect your rights during a traffic stop, get in touch for legal help and advice today.