One minute you may be driving down the street without a care in the world, and the next minute you’re being pulled over by a police officer. Your heart is racing as you already start to imagine the scenario of being accused of a crime in a court of law.
Before you panic, however, you may not know the reason why you’re being pulled over yet. If you weren’t doing anything wrong, then chances are they may only be pulling you over for something as innocent as a broken tail light.
Regardless of the reason for them pulling you over, it’s important to know what you should and shouldn’t do, as well as what your rights are. Here are some facts you should know when you’re pulled over by a police officer.
You May Refuse Their Right To Search
When an officer pulls you over and suspects something, they may ask to search your vehicle. Many people who aren’t aware of their rights may immediately agree since they don’t have anything to hide anyway.
However, doing so is waiving your Fourth Amendment rights which are put in place to protect you against unreasonable searches.
Refuse a search even if you have nothing to hide. You never know when there may be something you’ve forgotten about, or a friend may have left. You’re better off protecting yourself and your rights and refusing their search. If they do a search anyway, they will need to prove why in a court of law.
While you may be able to refuse a search, you should under no circumstances resist an officer. If they ask you to get out of your car, you should calmly and silently follow their orders.
You may be upset or surprised that you’re being put into question when you’ve done nothing wrong, however resisting will only make matters worse. Now is the time to remain humble.
Answer Their Questions
While most people have heard the famous saying . “You have the right to remain silent,” it may not be in your best interest. Sometimes remaining silent will work against you and look suspicious.
One clever way of responding to police officers while still exercising your silence is to reply with questions.
You may also say “I refuse to talk any further without an attorney present.”
Record The Incident
If you are in a situation which is escalating quickly, pull out your phone and begin to record. Just make sure that your recording isn’t interfering. Be sure to save the video for your records, and write down the officers’ name.
Ultimately, knowledge is power when it comes to police officers overstepping their authority. By knowing what you should and shouldn’t do when being pulled over, you’ll hopefully be able to avoid escalated situations.