Protecting your rights during a traffic stop

Seeing the blue flashing lights behind you is never the way that you want your day to go. However, a simple traffic stop may become something much more serious, depending on your behavior.

Understanding how to protect your rights during a traffic stop is only useful if you know what to do before the blue lights appear. Without this key understanding, you may face harsh consequences or criminal charges.

If you suspect you recently received unfair charges in a traffic stop, you can consult with an experienced defense attorney to understand your rights and assess the strongest actions you have available to protect them. Be sure to begin building your defense as soon as you can, to ensure that you do not miss out on key protections.

Begin the traffic stop in control of your behavior

When you get pulled over in traffic, come to a stop at a safe place as soon as you can. The closer you are to the original site of your alleged violation, the easier it is for you to gather your own evidence and determine if the officer is telling the truth.

There is no need to act hostile toward the officer, as this will generally only increase the chances of a negative outcome. Instead, you can simply turn off the engine, roll down the window, and place your hands on the steering wheel. If an officer sees that you understand the process and simply want to comply and move on, he or she is often much more willing to give you a break or remain reasonable.

Watch what you say

An officer who pulls you over is gathering evidence before even exiting the cruiser. Although he or she may not read you your Miranda rights right away, rest assured each and every word you say may count as evidence against you.

Legally, you must usually only give an officer your name and show a form of official identification, and possibly insurance and registration. While you may want to cooperate with further questions, if the officer asks anything that you do not wish to answer, it is perfectly legal to decline to answer. You can simply say something like "I don't want to answer any more questions without my lawyer present.

Do not give an officer permission to search your vehicle

If an officer asks to search your vehicle, this almost certainly means that the officer actually needs your permission to do so. It is rarely wise to allow an officer to search your vehicle, even if you do not think that you have anything to hide. You may simply say, "I do not consent to having my vehicle searched."

If an officer does illegally search your vehicle, you may have grounds to throw out the charges entirely.

Building a strong defense to criminal charges can never begin too soon. Don't hesitate to defend your rights and future privileges using all the resources you have available.

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