Uh-oh! There they are — those red and blue flashing lights in your rearview mirror. You’re about to be pulled over by police.
You want the whole thing to be over with yesterday; the cop probably does too. How can you speed it along?
First, have a non-confrontational attitude. Second, know your rights. They’ll prevent you from doing anything you don’t have to or worse, become the victim of an unlawful arrest.
Don’t know your rights when pulled over? Keep reading to find out.
Knowledge is Power
Police can’t pull you over for the fun of it. They have to have probable cause. For traffic stops, probable cause includes speeding, running red lights or stop signs, busted tail light, expired tags, you get the idea.
Police also have to tell you why they stop you. If they don’t, ask them. You are well within your rights to ask questions, politely of course.
Even after the officer hands back your documentation, you can ask if you can leave. If they say yes, you can be on your merry way. If not, you can ask if they’re arresting you and why.
However, at that point, it’s probably best not to say anything.
Silence is Golden
Staying quiet isn’t only a Miranda right. You don’t have to answer any more than was asked of you.
When the officer asks for your license and registration, you have to turn them over. However, when they ask where you’ve been, if you’ve been drinking, you can answer in as little detail as you want.
It goes back to the 5th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. You remember, right? That old document you learned about in social studies?
It states, among other things, you can’t be compelled to incriminate yourself, by the courts or police.
Sass is Legal
Here’s a right few people know about: you have the right to give sass. Yep, you heard it right. You can mouth off, call the officer names, as long as you don’t get violent police cannot arrest you for a bad attitude.
That said, should you give sass?
No. It will make everything worse.
A bad attitude escalates an already tense situation and can lead to either you or the officer (sometimes both) doing something stupid.
When pulled over by a cop, stop as far on the right shoulder as you can. Use your turn signal. Roll down the window all the way. If it’s dark, turn on your interior light.
When they ask for your documentation, tell them where it is, and ask permission to get it. All of these actions put the cop at ease and make the stop go smoother.
Remember, the 4th is With You
We talked a little about the Constitution and the 5th amendment. But you should also know the fourth one. It states “the right of people to be secure…shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…”
What does that mean? Police can’t search your car without a warrant. However, there are some exceptions.
Police can search your car if:
- They have a warrant (duh)
- You give them permission
- Something illegal or evidence of something illegal is in plain view
- They have a credible fear for safety (like they suspect a hidden weapon)
- They arrest you, and their search relates to the arrest
- They can also do a general inventory of the vehicle should they impound it.
The moral of the story? If the cop asks to search your vehicle, tell them no. Also, keep anything they could perceive as illegal out of sight.
Take the Breathalyzer
We’ve talked about the 4th amendment prohibiting illegal search, but this next one is dicey.
You can technically refuse to take a breathalyzer. However, the cops may able to arrest you still. Some states have implied consent laws, meaning you give implicit permission to take a breathalyzer when you get your license.
Refusal can lead to handcuffs or a license suspension. If asked, take the test. It will save you a headache.
Don’t Get Pulled Over By Police
If you want to avoid all of this legal mess, don’t get pulled over by police in the first place. Follow the rules of the road and everything will be fine.
But if you do find yourself in jail and need bail, check us out at Amistad Bail Bonds. We can get you the money you need fast, getting you out of jail.
Contact us today to find out more.