You’re over thinking—maybe about work, friends, or family—and you begin speeding unknowingly. We all do it. We switch into autopilot and become consumed in our thoughts to pass the drive time. Suddenly, you see that familiar black vehicle tailing your car. Your heart sinks as the bright red and blue lights illuminate in your rearview mirror. You’re getting pulled over.

What now?

Use your turn signal or turn on your hazards. This lets the officer know that you see him and intend to pull over.

Find a safe area to pull over that provides enough room for the both of you. If you need to drive ahead to stop in a safe location, then drive slower than normal to signal your intention to stop. When you pull over, stay in your vehicle.

As the officer approaches, keep both of your hands on the steering wheel. Do NOT reach anywhere until the officer tells you to do so. The officer may assume you are reaching for a weapon if you begin moving erratically. When he wants your documents, find them while explaining to the officer exactly what you are doing. Then, return your hands to the steering wheel.

Sometimes, the officer will ask if you know the traffic violation that caused the stop. This is a trap. The officer wants you to waive your protection against self-incrimination by confessing.

Simply say “No, I do not know.”

If the officer believes your car contains illegal items (e.g., drugs), then he may ask for your consent to search the vehicle. This is another trap. Generally speaking, the Fourth Amendment requires an officer to obtain a warrant in order to search your vehicle. One exception to the warrant requirement is consent. In other words, if you give the officer permission to search your car, then he does not need a warrant. You have the right to say, “I do not consent to a search.”

A few important pointers to remember:

– Be polite! Do not be rude, overeager or condescending. Everything you say will be used against you.

– Do not argue. Let your lawyer argue on your behalf later.

– Do not exit your vehicle unless instructed to do so.

When merging back onto the road, be careful and take your time. Do not rush back out or appear anxious.

Call your defense attorney at Repka Law for a free consultation. (651) 395 – 7421