What should I do (and not do) when I am pulled over?
When we are stopped by a police officer, people frequently get a rush of adrenaline and begin to panic. Knowing what to do, and what not to do, in this stressful situation can potentially keep you out of serious trouble.
Police Officers are people just like you and me. People generally respond better to individuals who are friendly and respectful. So, treat a Police Officer at your window like you would if you were standing in front of a judge in Court. “Yes Sir, No Sir” “Yes Ma’am, No Ma’am” are the appropriate responses. Do not, under any circumstance, become hostile with the police officer. This will never, ever help you. I have seen numerous arrests that were simply because the person was hostile toward a police officer and failed to follow commands from a law enforcement officer.
Follow the Officer’s Instructions
This is a pretty simple concept that is frequently forgotten. Some people have the belief that they don’t have to obey when law enforcement gives them a command. The reality is that in most situations, we are required to obey a command given by a police officer. Failure to obey simple commands like, “hand me your driver’s license” or “stand right there for me” can quickly escalate to an arrest for obstruction. Even if you believe you are being given an unlawful command, maintain your composure and follow any direct instructions that are given to you.
Do not Make any Admissions
It is important to keep in mind that just because we should be polite and follow officer instructions that we must not make any admissions to any criminal activity. Sometimes police officer will try to convince you that if there is something in your car that they need to know about, just tell them now and it will not be as big of a deal. Most of the time, those that are persuaded to admit to possessing contraband in their car by this tactic are surprised when they are arrested.
The police must have probable cause to search your vehicle. By admitting that you possess marijuana, or any other controlled substance, in your vehicle gives the police the probable cause that they need to search your vehicle. Not to mention that you admitted that you knew the contraband was in your vehicle, thereby eliminating a potential defense. Similarly, if stopped for a DUI, any admission that you consumed alcohol will absolutely be used against you in subsequent court proceedings.
To be clear, I am not advocating that you lie to the police. I am simply encouraging you to not provide law enforcement with the evidence they need to convict you of a crime. When the police are questioning you on the side of the road, they are investigating criminal activity and your admission will be used against you in court.
Do not Consent to a Search of Your Car
I cannot believe how frequently people consent to a search of their vehicle knowing that contraband is in their vehicle. Consenting to a search of your vehicle in this situation is absolutely the worst decision that you can make. It eliminates most legal issues challenging the search of your vehicle.
You should politely refuse any and all searches of your vehicle and your person. If the police disregard your refusal, this may be a good legal issue in your subsequent defense. However, you should never attempt to obstruct and officer at any point.
If you follow these simple rules, you will be less likely to be arrested and charged with a crime. If you are unfortunately arrested and charged with a crime, you should consult a criminal defense attorney. I would be honored to discuss your case and potentially challenge any unlawful search of you or your vehicle. Call me directly at 678-988-1199.
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That sounds like very good advise! Thanks Jason!