The nationwide study showed that police pull over nearly 50,000 people throughout the country each year. No matter how routine or simple it may be, traffic stops are always unnerving. Leaving many drivers wondering what am I supposed to do when police stop my car?
The fact is, if you know your rights and are able to proceed in a calm and civilized manner you’re more likely to make it through your traffic stop painlessly.
Read on for more information on what to do when pulled over by a police officer.
What Should I Do When Police Stop My Car?
While it’s always wise to be respectful to those in uniform, you must also uphold your rights.
This might mean politely declining an officer’s request if you know that within your state they are operating outside of their jurisdiction.
When Asked Access to Your Car or Your Home
If for some reason an officer requests to take a look inside of your vehicle or home or pat you down, you are not required to consent.
Without probable cause or a search warrant, officers are not permitted to search any of your properties.
When Requesting More Information Than Your Name or What’s Present on Your Driver’s License
You must provide proof of identity along with legal documentation for your vehicle including your driver’s license, car insurance, and registration. However, beyond this point, you are not required to offer any additional information.
You must ask if you’re free to go before ending or leaving the conversation with the officer. In the case that you are free to go, it is important that you walk and not run in order for officers to not feel threatened or feel as though you’re resisting arrest.
In the event that you are detained or arrested you also are not required to explain yourself or any other information on what you were doing at the time.
When Requesting to Do Something Illegal
There are times when a police officer may ask you to do something that seems to be illegal but isn’t. However, it’s important to know what is and is not legal when being pulled over.
For example, while it may seem illegal to be wrongly pulled over or asked to step out of your vehicle, it is in fact within the officer’s rights. However, depending on your state the request may be entirely within the officer’s right if the officer feels he has a viable reason to pull you over.
Depending on where you live, it may be required by law that the police officer commandeer your vehicle, despite how you may feel about it.
As frustrated as you may be, understand that there is an appropriate time and place to challenge the police officer’s authority, which may not be at the moment that you’re being pulled over.
Always keep your own safety as a priority, and try to work with the police officer as much as possible.
When They Ask Questions After You’ve Already Been Arrested
Once you’ve been arrested you have the full right to remain silent. There’s no need to answer any questions that the police ask you without your council being present.
Even the simplest of one-word answers can be twisted when the right questions are asked. The only question that you need to answer once you are under arrest is, “would you like to speak to your attorney?”.
When They Attempt to Listen to Your Call with Your Lawyer
Every instance of communication between you and your lawyer is intended to be confidential. Which means that the police are not permitted to listen in on any phone calls that may take place between the two of you or to sit in on conversations they are not invited to.
Anything that is overheard during these private conversations is inadmissible.
If a police officer does intervene on your communication with your lawyer, bring it up promptly to your lawyer who will address it with the court.
When Asked Your Immigration Status or for You to Sign Paperwork
The right to remain silent is not reserved for American citizens. You are not required to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with the police. You’re also not required to discuss where you were born or in what way you entered the country.
However, if an immigration agent does ask you to present your immigration papers you are required to have them on you. It is important that any immigrants over the age of 18 keep their legal documents close to them at all times.
It is also important that you do not allow yourself to be intimidated or bullied into signing any paperwork that they claim that you’ve committed wrongful acts or are illegally present within the United States.
Refrain from signing any paperwork without your attorney first reviewing it to assure you that it’s within your best interest.
Keeping Timing in Mind
In the event that you feel that the police officer handled your traffic stop in an unjust manner that violated your rights, it’s important to hold that officer accountable.
However, it’s important to choose the right time and place to make these injustices known.
Your safety should always be kept the first priority at any traffic stop, meaning any fighting, arguments, or challenges should be saved for a later date.
Taking Control of Your Rights
When wondering what do I do when please stop my car? The short anis to think clearly, speak respectfully, and be educated on your rights.
Being prepared ahead of time is key to maintaining control over any situation. Whether it’s setting up your power of attorney or creating an emergency plan with your family, it’s always wise to be prepared for the worst.
Check out our powerful templates as a way to keep you and your family organized and ready for any event that can be thrown your way.