If you get stopped, knowing your rights and how to conduct yourself can go a long way.
Whether you were speeding or just minding your own business and obeying the traffic laws, your blood pressure is almost guaranteed to rise when you see red and blue flashing lights behind you.
Getting pulled over by the police can be a scary experience — especially if the police are less than friendly with you or seem suspicious that you’ve committed a crime. No matter how many crime or cop shows you’ve watched, you may not know what to do when the police stop you. In fact, many people are completely unaware of their rights when it comes to dealing with police officers.
If you get stopped, knowing your rights and how to conduct yourself can go a long way toward getting back on the road instead of the back of a police cruiser.
Know Your Rights at a Traffic Stop
If you’re stopped by the police while driving, keep in mind that anything you say or do has the potential to impact any future criminal prosecution against you. Although police body cams have helped defendants prove how stops unfold, not all police departments use them. In other cases, officers turn them off. This is why it’s imperative to follow instructions and stay calm.
- Keep Your Hands on the Wheel – It’s always best to keep your hands visible as the officer approaches your vehicle. You don’t want the officer to think you’re reaching for a weapon or attempting to dispose of any illegal substances.
- Exit the Vehicle If the Officer Requests It – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Pennsylvania v. Mimms that individuals must exit their vehicles if a police officer demands it at a traffic stop.
- You Really Do Have the Right to Remain Silent – The right to remain silent isn’t just a cool thing detectives say on television crime dramas. You must answer basic questions about your name, address, and vehicle information, but you don’t have to answer any other questions.
- You Can Always Refuse a Search – You don’t have to consent to a search of your vehicle. However, the police officer can still go ahead with the search as long as he has probable cause to conduct one. Of course, you can always challenge the legality of the search later on, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away.
Contact an Experienced Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer If You Have Been Charged with a Crime
Police officers have difficult jobs. They work in difficult conditions and confront life or death situations all the time. However, this doesn’t give them a blank check to trample citizens’ rights. If you were the victim of police misconduct, whether through a warrantless search or an illegal traffic stop, you should get in touch with a knowledgeable Texas criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer
Broden & Mickelsen, LLP
2600 State St Dallas, Texas 75204
Main Phone: (214) 720-9552