The Dos and Don’ts of Getting Pulled Over by Police, Part Two: Additional Considerations

pulled over, Arlington Heights criminal defense attorneyIn a previous post on this bog, we discussed some of the ways you can make your experience with the police go smoother and more efficiently when you are pulled over for a traffic violation. Nearly every person who drives a motor vehicle will get pulled over by police at some point. For some, it will be caused by something as minor as a broken taillight, while others will have more dramatic encounters with police. If you are ever pulled over by police, take the following steps to ensure that you do not make the situation more dangerous or difficult than necessary.

Do Not Exit the Car Without Being Told to Do So

Tension between police and citizens have never been higher than in recent years. Prominent cases of alleged police brutality receive copious media attention. For example, many have attributed the 2014 death of Eric Garner to the New York City Police Department. Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri led to the public looting of businesses, vandalism of vehicles, arson, first responders being shot at, and violent conflicts between protestors and police.

Keep in mind that when you are being pulled over, that police are looking for any sign of danger and may interpret innocent movements as threatening. Police officers have no way of knowing if you are a threat or not when they reach your vehicle. To get out of the car before being asked or otherwise be aggressive will only make the encounter worse for the person getting pulled over.

Do Understand Your Rights About Sobriety Tests

When you get into a vehicle and driver on public roads, you are technically giving your consent to being tested for intoxication. This is called “implied consent.” However, if an officer suspects you of drinking, you do have the right to refuse a breathalyzer or other sobriety tests. The downside to choosing this option is that refusing a breathalyzer or other blood alcohol content (BAC) test once you have been arrested automatically results in a driver’s license suspension of one year. If you submit to the test, your results exceed the legal limit, and it is your first offense, your license will only be suspended for six months. However, you may also face further punitive consequences if you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI).

Do Not Agree to Interrogation Without an Attorney

If you are questioned by police, exercise your right to remain silent. There is no need to be rude or aggressive. Simply say “I want to remain silent,” or, “I want to speak to a lawyer.” By law, someone cannot be arrested or detained simply for refusing to answer questions. Wait until you have a lawyer present before agreeing to being interrogated by police.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested following a traffic stop, keep in mind that you still have rights. Regardless of the severity of the charges, every person has the right to speak to an attorney and receive legal guidance. At the Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley, our experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers are devoted to protecting rights of our clients and helping them get their lives back on track. Call 847-253-3100 today to set up a free, confidential consultation of your case.

 

Sources:

https://www.aclunc.org/our-work/know-your-rights/your-rights-and-police

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-rights-do-you-have-when-pulled-over-2013-11

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