Being stopped by police while driving will happen to everyone at one point or another. You may have gotten pulled over due to speeding or due to an expired bumper sticker. No matter what the reason may be, it is important to know your rights when it comes to an encounter with law enforcement. Being aware of your rights prevents police misconduct from occurring.
Review these steps to make your experience with law enforcement a painless and just one:
- The moment you see a police car signaling for you to pull over, be sure to pull over in an area where you feel comfortable. Pull over as far as you can to the side of the road to ensure you leave space for the officer and oncoming traffic.
- A police officer should not pull you over without having a valid reason, which is referred to as reasonable suspicion. If the officer does not explicitly state his reason for stopping you, then be sure to ask. You should know the reason before any further interaction occurs.
- Always tell the officer when and where you are reaching for your documents- if you are asked to present them. While providing the police officer your license, registration, and proof of insurance, you may be asked some basic questions for identification reasons. Other than responding to these questions, you do not have to say much else. You may practice your right to remain silent even in the case of a minor traffic stop.
- You are allowed to film or record your experience with law enforcement during a traffic stop. Whether you are comfortable or uncomfortable during the interaction, it could be beneficial to keep a record of it.
- Remember that you are allowed to say no to breathalyzer tests and car searches. Implied consent laws for breathalyzer tests are present in most states, but you can refuse it if asked by authority. Whether you are innocent or guilty of something, law enforcement searching your vehicle without a warrant or probable cause is a violation of your rights.