Do You Know Your Rights At An Unlawful Traffic Stop?
An unlawful police stop refers to a scenario when a police officer pulls a driver over without probable cause to do so. Anyone can be the victim of an unlawful stop by the police. If you have been pulled over it is likely that police believe that stop is lawful, it is unlikely that they will change their minds. If you happen to argue the stop, it could lead to additional criminal charges and will only aggravate the situation.
It is important to know your rights to avoid escalation of the situation and causing yourself more charges. If you get unlawfully stopped by a police officer, here are a few things you should remember:
- Remain calm and respectful, and address them as “officer.”
- You can respectfully disagree for the record, but do so politely; refrain from debating or being argumentative about the reason for the stop.
- Cooperate with the officer. Provide routine documentation requested such as ID and registration.
- If you need to reach into your glovebox or elsewhere to retrieve the documents, tell the officer where they can be found and inform them that you will be getting them from there.
- Do not volunteer or agree to answer personal questions such as where you’ve been, where you’re going, or what you’ve had to eat or drink that day or evening.
- Keep your hands on the wheel unless you’ve been instructed otherwise by the officer. Make sure the officer can see them if moved elsewhere. Avoid sudden movements that might be perceived as threatening to the officer.
- Decline to participate in DUI Field Sobriety Testing. SFSTs are not mandatory. Respectfully let the officer know that it is your understanding that the court has held that they can be invalid, and you would not want the results to suggest otherwise.
- You are within your right to decline a search of your vehicle or belongings unless you’ve been arrested.
- If the police officer requests a breath or blood test, it is your right to refuse. However, understand there will be consequences. By law, you will lose your driver’s license for one year. If the officer has probable cause to believe you are impaired and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will obtain a warrant to get a DUI blood test anyway.
- If you are arrested be cooperative. At that point, the officer has made up their mind, and further objection will only make matters worse.
- Contact an attorney as soon as reasonably possible following your arrest. If retained, your attorney will file a motion to have any evidence suppressed obtained after the unlawful stop.
If an unlawful police stop leads to your DUI arrest, you may have the ability to fight your charges in court. Call our team of experienced DUI attorneys from the DUI Defense Team on 520-222-2222, let us help you navigate this difficult process.