Routine traffic stops are often just that, routine. However, there are also times when what could have been a simple traffic stop escalates into something more. Since most people will likely be involved in a traffic stop at least once in their lives, it’s important to know your rights and have an understanding of what to expect.
What to Do During a Traffic Stop
A police officer may pull you over for a variety of reasons. For many people, these stops are annoying and stressful – especially when they feel as though they haven’t done anything wrong. For police officers, traffic stops can also cause lots of stress because they could be walking into a potentially dangerous situation.
When you realize the police are attempting to pull you over, remember to do the following things:
- Pull off to a safe spot on the side of the road.
- Roll your window down.
- Turn off the car.
- Place your hands on the steering wheel so they’re in the officer’s site.
- Inform the police of any weapons you may have in the car, but do not reach for them.
- Only exit the vehicle if you are asked to do so.
What Are Your Rights During A Traffic Stop?
When you are pulled over by the police, you are entitled to several rights.
- You are allowed to find a safe place to stop. This means that you are allowed to drive until you find a safe and practical place to full over. However, when you notice an officer is attempting to pull you over, you should slow down so they know you’re aware.
- You have the right to remain silent to avoid saying anything to incriminate yourself. However, pre-Miranda silence can often be seen as suspicious. If the officer asks if you know why you were stopped, you have the right to politely answer no.
- You have the right to refuse a search of your vehicle, but if the police have probable cause they may search the vehicle anyway.
- You do not have the right to stay inside your vehicle. If you are ordered to exit the car, you must follow that order.
What to Expect From A Police Officer During a Traffic Stop
Most traffic stops share a lot of similarities, but they may not be identical. However, despite some differences there are certain things you can typically expect from an officer during a traffic stop. The officer will typically tell you his/her name and inform you of the reason you’ve been stopped.
Have You Been Involved in A Traffic Stop That Left You With Criminal Charges?
If you’re facing criminal charges after a traffic stop in the Tampa Bay area, criminal defense attorney, Daniel J. Fernandez, may be able to help. Fernandez & Hernandez will provide a free consultation and discuss your situation. If you need legal assistance call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353.