Picture this everyday scene that most drivers experience at least once: You’re driving your car, and maybe you’re speeding a little. Suddenly, red and blue lights show up in the rearview mirror, and your stomach fills with dread. You get pulled over. In the best-case scenario, you don’t get a ticket. In a slightly worse but not-so-bad case, you get a ticket, but everything goes fine. However, in some situations, you may feel unnecessarily intimidated or harassed. In this case, you might wonder what your rights are.
When you’re being pulled over, it’s natural to feel stressed out. Even if you’re only encountering the police over a minor traffic infraction, it’s easy to feel upset or frazzled. But knowing what to do and what your rights are in these interactions can help ease your mind. Learn what to do to keep yourself safe and follow your legal rights when you’re pulled over while driving or in any other situation.
What To Do If You Had A Poor Interaction With Police
It can be challenging to cover every single situation in an article. So, if you were recently pulled over and felt your rights were violated, the best course of action is to contact an attorney. They will better understand the laws in your area and your options moving forward.
Necessary Rights To Know About
While specific laws will vary from state to state, the ACLU details some general rights that every person has when pulled over by the police. Here’s what you need to know:
- You have the right to remain silent. However, it’s safest to state this right out loud.
- You have the right to ask for a lawyer if you are arrested. If you can’t afford one, you can have one appointed to you by the state.
- You can refuse to have your car or belongings searched. However, the police may still do so. This can be tricky because if the police suspect you have a weapon or are doing something illegal, they may be able to search your vehicle legally. However, it’s good to verbally express that you do not consent to a search if you plan to contest this later.
Some General Guidelines On What To Do When Pulled Over
When pulled over, the wisest action is remaining calm and collected. It’s generally bs to not offer too much information, but if you feel comfortable, you can answer questions and keep the interaction to a polite minimum. You should procure your ID and other requested information, such as your registration and car insurance.
It’s also good to know about the laws in your state related to interactions with police. You want to know information such as if you are allowed to record police and what the limits of these recordings are. Different states also have various laws related to where you can move to the side of the road. In some states, you may be allowed or even required to drive to a safer area with a shoulder.
What To Do If You Feel Your Rights Were Violated
Whether you were pulled over for a traffic violation or something else, you can do everything right and still have a negative interaction where your rights are violated.
In this case, seek help from a lawyer and look into resources in your area if you cannot afford your own.