Being asked by the police to pull over on the side of the road can be a stressful experience. Seeing the flashing lights in your rear-view mirror and knowing they’re directed at you can be traumatizing.
More often than not, you may not know what’s going on and you may also be a bit confused on what to do next.
Whether it’s a simple traffic violation or an arrest for a more serious crime such as alcohol-related offenses or drug abuse and possession crimes, below are the things you need to do if you’ve been pulled over by a police officer.
1. Turn On Your Emergency Flashers And Choose A Safe Area To Pull Over
When you’re asked to pull over, the first thing you should do is acknowledge the police officer’s request by turning on your emergency flashers. This is an important thing to do especially if you think you’ll need to drive a short distance before you can find a safe place to pull over.
After acknowledging the police, the next step is to pull over to a safe area. In order to do this, you should check your mirrors, assess where you exactly are, and determine an area where you can safely stop your car to attend to the police officer. If possible, choose a location near a parking lot or a place that’s preferably well-lit.
2. Remain Calm And Make Yourself Visible
Once you find a safe spot to pull over, be sure to take a deep breath and stay calm by making yourself visible in the eyes of the police officer. Don’t forget to shut off the car and any music playing in the background. Then, turn on the lights inside your vehicle to let them know that you’re not doing anything suspicious like hiding contraband or getting a deadly weapon.
As they also approach your car, make sure you roll down your windows so the police officer may be able to talk to you easily. While speaking to them, try to stay still and keep your hands on the steering wheel. This is to make sure you’re not giving them any reason to believe you’re a threat.
3. Wait For The Police Officer’s Instructions
As soon as the police officer comes near the window, don’t speak first. Usually, they’ll ask for your driver’s license and car registration. However, if you need to reach your wallet, inform them before you make any move and be sure to do it deliberately and slowly.
Also, try to finish this process before doing anything else, and once you’re done, put your hands back on the wheel while the police officer checks your license and vehicle status.
4. Be Polite
When dealing with a police officer during a pull over, be sure to keep things respectful and don’t initiate an argument with the person in authority if you’re given a ticket. If possible, answer their questions as best you can. Don’t get nervous because everything you’ll say to them can be admissible as evidence in court.
However, if you believe the police officer wrongfully accuses you with a drug charge, don’t hesitate to call a reputable drug charge lawyer to help explain your rights during a road pull over. For instance, below are the following rights you should keep in mind when this kind of situation happens:
- While you may have the right to respond to the police officer’s questions, you’re also entitled to a right to remain silent. Be sure to say it out loud if you wish to exercise this right.
- You don’t have to consent to a search of yourself and your belongings, although the police officer may search your clothing if they suspect you have a weapon. While refusing consent may not prevent them from executing the search against your will, making a timely objection about the search may help preserve your rights in any legal proceedings later on.
- If you’ve been arrested by the police, you have the right to hire a legal counsel to represent you in any legal proceeding. This is to protect yourself in case of wrongful allegations against you, and if your rights are violated.
As you can see, simple traffic violations don’t often require the services of a lawyer. But in case you’re involved in more serious accusations like a DUI charge or a drug charge, you should work with a legal professional who can advocate for you in court. A knowledgeable lawyer may help you determine whether you have a basis to suppress the evidence against you as well as help guide you through the process.
Indeed, getting pulled over by a police officer on the road can be a frustrating experience. But by following the tips mentioned above, you can make the process more seamless and stress-free. Lastly, if the pull over comes with a serious criminal allegation, you need to hire a good criminal defense lawyer. That way, you’re able to navigate the situation more efficiently.