Pulled Over by Police? Understand Your Rights
If you are driving down the road and notice the blue and red flashing lights in your rear view mirror, it is a frightening experience. While most of the time being pulled over results in just a warning, or at worst, a ticket, it is still important to be careful and understand your rights. Every time a police officer pulls someone over, they are looking for potential violations of the law. With this in mind, you should understand what your legal rights are and how to keep yourself safe both physically and legally.
Right to Privacy
The police do not have the right to search your vehicle unless they have probable cause to believe that you have something illegal in the car. If you have drugs easily visible, for example, that would be considered a valid reason for searching the vehicle even if you don’t consent. The police are permitted to ask you for permission to search your vehicle, but you absolutely do not have to grant them permission and it is in your best interest to refuse consent. Of course, if the police decide to search anyway, you should not try to physically stop them. Just make sure that you state that you do not give your consent, and then fight the injustice in court.
Right to Remain Silent
When you are pulled over, the police will typically ask you a number of questions while you are getting your license and insurance information. You do have the right to remain silent, though that will typically only serve to aggravate the officer. If they ask your name or other information that they will have anyway, it is acceptable to answer. If they ask you how fast you were going, or any other potentially incriminating questions, it is best to either say you don’t recall or that you would prefer not to answer.
Never Fight with the Police
No matter what legal rights you technically have, you do need to keep in mind that the police are a well-armed force that can summon huge amounts of backup in just minutes. If you get into a physical altercation with the police, you absolutely won’t win. No matter what type of violations of your rights the police attempt, don’t try to stop them physically. Make it clear that you don’t consent, and then try to remember everything that happens. This information can be helpful when working with an attorney to take the police to court.
Fighting for Your Legal Rights
If you have been harassed or otherwise mistreated by the police, it is important that you fight for your rights through the courts. The police often think that they can get away anything because people don’t stand up for their rights. Contact us to discuss your situation and see what your options may be.