No one wants to be pulled over by the police while they are driving, but it does happen. Here are five tips for how to deal with the police if you do find yourself being stopped by the,
Tip #1: Show Respect and Follow Directions
No one likes to realize that a police officer is trying to pull them over. But it happens. Your first reaction may be annoyance or frustration. You may start to get defensive.
But if the police are trying to pull you over, it is in your best interest to cooperate. Wait for the officer to come to your car, and try to stay calm. Keep your hands visible on the steering wheel and make it clear that you are cooperating with the police.
It might be difficult to suppress a rude tone when talking to the officer. But keep in mind that it is not in your best interest to express anger, frustration, or aggression. Instead, try to be respectful and follow basic directions that the police give you. Explain to the police officer what you are doing before you do it, so that they are not startled by sudden movements.
After you do this, remember that you do not have to do everything that the police officer asks you to do. You do not have to consent to a search of your car. You do not have to answer questions. You do not have to say anything that might incriminate you.
Walking the line between respect towards the officer and protecting yourself can be difficult. But following the tips in this post is a good place to start.
Tip #2: Use Your Right to Remain Silent
If you get pulled over by the police, remember: you do not have to say anything that will incriminate you. You have a right to remain silent and you can use this right.
If a police officer asks you a question and answering would incriminate you, you do not have to.
If you are uncomfortable with the questions that the police are asking you, you can tell them that you’d like to remain silent. Try to do this respectfully, to stay in line with the last tip we gave about what to do if you are pulled over by the police. Say something like, “With all due respect, I am not comfortable answering questions. I would like to invoke my right to remain silent.” The police might try to pressure you into talking. They might say that you are being uncooperative. But you are doing NOTHING WRONG by invoking your right to remain silent. This is perfectly legal and it can help you protect yourself.
Know your rights and use them to your advantage!
Tip #3: Contact a Lawyer
Last week, I mentioned that after you give the police your basic information, you do not have to answer questions that make you uncomfortable. If you think that answering a question could cause trouble for you, you can invoke your right to remain silent. In addition to staying silent, you can protect yourself by invoking your right to a lawyer.
Sometimes, it is difficult to know exactly what to do when the police pull you over. Even if you think that you are prepared, an officer may catch you off guard. Instead of going along with what they are saying, inform the police that you would like to contact your attorney. A lawyer can handle the situation to your advantage and protect your rights.
Tip #4: Don’t Consent to Searches
If you are pulled over by the police, they may ask to search your car. Keep in mind that you do not have to consent to this search unless the police have a warrant. Decline a search of your car, even if you do not have anything illegal in your car, and contact an attorney.
Tip #5: Don’t Perform the Physical Coordination Tests
If a police officer suspects that you are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol , they may ask you to perform a physical coordination test. The most common of these field sobriety tests are:
- The walk and turn test
- The one leg stand test
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus test
- If you are asked to perform these tests, it is a good idea to politely decline. These tests are designed to make you fail, so it is best to avoid these tests altogether.
If you do get pulled over by the police and face a motor vehicle violation or a criminal charge, contact our office. We can help!