What to Do if You’re Stopped by the Police

by - Saturday, April 27, 2019

It is natural to feel a little afraid when you’re stopped by a police officer. It is, however, essential to remember that your demeanor, attitude, and body language can lead to an officer either allowing you to drive on or suspecting you of a criminal offense, even if you are innocent.

To ensure you never end up on the wrong side of the law, read this advice on what to do if you are stopped by the police.

Be Respectful

While you might be frustrated that an officer has forced you to pull over, you must maintain a calm, respectful demeanor. The words you say and actions you take can be used against you, and badmouthing a police offer could give them a reason to place you under arrest.

Provide Your License and Registration

A police officer will likely ask for your driver’s license and registration once you have pulled your vehicle over. Once you have presented it, you will have no obligation to answer their questions during your detainment or arrest.

If, however, you refuse to give your name once detained, you could be arrested in some states. However, if you are concerned your name could potentially incriminate you, you have the right to remain silent, which could support your defense.

You Don’t Need to Consent to a Search

It is important to note you do not need to consent to a search of your car or yourself when stopped by a police officer. If you do consent to a search, it could negatively affect your rights if you’re required to attend court. In some cases, a police officer may state they have a search warrant, which you must request to see.

Ask for a Lawyer

If a police officer arrests you on suspicion of a crime, you must not resist an arrest, even if you are innocent. You also should immediately ask for a lawyer to ensure you receive legal representation. For example, if you have been arrested on suspicion of a DUI, you should request to call experienced DUI lawyer Philadelphia.

Write Down Key Details to Support Your Case

As soon as an opportunity arises, write down as many crucial details about the stop, search and arrest that you can remember. For example, take a mental note of a police officer’s badge number and the patrol car number. If possible, reach out to witnesses for their names and contact details. Plus, if you experienced an injury during an arrest, take photographs of the sustained bruising or wound.

File a Written Complaint for Rights Violations

If you feel your rights were violated at any point, you should consider filing a written complaint with a police department’s internal affairs division. Alternatively, you could file a complaint with the civilian complaint board.

So, if you are pulled over by the police, maintain a calm, respectful attitude, provide your license and registration, and aim to remember your above rights, which could potentially support your case.

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