August 22, 2018
Whether you are knowingly going 20 over the speed limit or have simply drifted into the left lane while changing your thermostat, you now hear that blaring siren behind you and your heart rate doubles.
Unfortunately, the majority of us have been in this situation. We start to sweat, maybe even cry. Don’t worry, even some of the most law-knowledgeable people begin to panic and basic common sense goes out the window. The secret to pushing through any stressful situation is preparedness. Here are your basic rights and some tips that will help you the next time you get stopped by the cops:
1. Do not pull over until you are in a safe, well-lit area and do not get out of the car.
- Simply put your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the police officer to get to your door, then roll down the window. Remember, getting out of the car suggests you have something to hide or are challenging the cop, and you may be arrested.
- You can ask to see the officer’s badge. There is an increased risk of this person being a police impersonator during nighttime traffic stops in rural areas. If you are alone in your car, consider asking for the officer’s identifying information or ask that he or she call another officer to the scene.
2. They need a reason.
- Cops need a reason to pull you over in the first place, but need an especially strong one to search your car at any point. Most officers begin a stop with, “do you know why I pulled you over?” Take this as your first opportunity to exercise your use of the word, “NO.”
3. Say NO!
- Some cops have gotten into the habit of asking if the driver has been drinking or has used an illegal substance, no matter the circumstance. Take a deep breath and give a strong, “NO.”
- If a cop asks for consent to search your vehicle, no matter what you have under that passenger seat, say “NO.”
- If a cop ignores your answer and continues to search your vehicle, let it happen. This is an illegal search. In this case, call Daniel & Hudson Law Office at (210) 222-2297 immediately.
Above all, be respectful and assertive. Do not explain or give additional information. It is your constitutional right to be silent or refuse tests or searches – this refusal does not make you guilty of a crime.