You may not have had any contact with police in the past; however, one of the most common reasons why anybody does is due to something known as “the traffic stop.” In fact, traffic stops occurred for 42% of people involved with the police in 2011. On a higher end of the scale, approximately half of these traffic stops from 2011 ended in a traffic ticket and another 3% of people were searched. According to the studies, a greater percentage of male drivers were stopped by police than female drivers, and speeding drivers was one of the most common reasons for the stops.
Steps You Can Take
So, how do you prevent a normal traffic stop from turning into something much more serious? Of course, there are some steps that you can take to retain your rights. For instance, when you first see those lights glowing behind you in the distance, you should pull over as quickly but safely as possible. You should always attempt to stay close to the scene where the officer claims you committed the violation and pull as far to the right shoulder as you possibly can. Keeping a close eye on the scene could help you in the future in regards to a potential court case.
You should know that, when you are stopped, you have many rights. However, to utilize these rights you must follow some simple rules. It is efficient for you to always remain polite during traffic stops, even if the officer is treating you aggressively. Always roll down your window and turn off the engine as well as keeping your hands on the steering wheel. Never reach for documentation because officers will be searching the car with their eyes already, looking for things that look out of place. You do not want them to misinterpret their actions so that they believe you are reaching for a gun. Wait until the officer asks for the registration and then you can search for it and hand it to them when prompted. Furthermore, if you are suspicious that the police officer is not really an officer, you can ask the officer to see their photo identification and badge.
Lastly, you should never give an officer an excuse to search your vehicle. Usually at a traffic stop, a police officer will not be permitted to search your car without any reason. The officer will be checking to see if there is anything “off” about the scene and looking out for suspicious movements. Perhaps you kick something out of the way and a police officer’s first thought may be that there are drugs under your seat, which could warrant a search. This is why you should never make any suspicious movements and never reach for anything unless the officer prompts you otherwise. The officer must have probable cause to conduct a search or frisk you, which means that they must either see something in plain view or truly believe that your acts are suspicious in nature.
The best thing that you can do at a police stop is be as kind as possible, because it always pays off in the end. You may have questions regarding events that happened at a traffic stop. If this is the case, you should speak to an attorney who can help you with your case. We understand that the rules and regulations regarding traffic stops can be complex and that you need our help. At The Law Office of Peter Blair, we can help guide you.