If you are pulled over for any reason, do not panic. The actions you take and the words you say after being pulled over will shape your future. Your best course of action is to remain quiet, comply with reasonable requests from the police officer and never admit to wrongdoing.
What to do When You See the Flashing Lights
No one wants to hear the police siren and see the blue, white and red lights in their rearview mirror. However, even the best drivers are pulled over from time to time.
If you are pulled over:
- Reduce your rate of speed
- Turn on your blinker
- Pull over to the side of the road
- Put your vehicle in park
- Turn off the engine
- Remain seated
- Keep your seat belt fastened
- Wait for the police officer to approach
- Roll down the windows on the driver and passenger sides
- Put your hands on the steering wheel so they can be seen with ease
Take Your Time When Pulling Over
Do not put your vehicle or another driver at risk by attempting to pull over as soon as you notice the police officer behind you with lights illuminated. Wait until there is enough room to pull over without putting anyone in danger.
If the area is busy, if the road winds or if it is a highway without a shoulder, be particularly careful and patient. Find a gap in the traffic, move on over to the side of the road and wait for the officer to approach your vehicle.
How to Interact with the Police Officer During the Traffic Stop
Be polite when interacting with the police officer. Do not attempt to win favor by engaging in excessive small talk, asking questions or being overly-talkative. If the police officer asks if you have been drinking, where you drank, where you are driving or anything else along those lines, do not provide an answer.
Anything you state in response to such questions or even when engaging in discussion during the traffic stop can be used against you should the matter go to court.
Above all, do not lie to the police officer. Be civil, attempt to move the interaction along to a conclusion and never admit to fault. There is nothing wrong with stating you do not want to answer any questions, thanking the police officer and moving forward.
Sobriety and Breath Tests
If the police officer suspects you are drunk or inebriated in another manner, they must inform you of their suspicion before they request your participation in a sobriety test or a breath test.
In general, it is not a good idea to take such tests because they are used to collect evidence of your guilt. If you choose to participate in the test and are arrested, don’t worry yet! The tests, their administration, and other nuances of the situation can be attacked on legal grounds even if you fail the test.
What to do if You are Placed Under Arrest
If the police officer suspects you are drunk, high or inebriated in another manner, you will likely be placed under arrest. This process will prove dramatic, yet you should not fan the flames by arguing with the police officer or resisting arrest. The officer will handcuff you and put you in the back of the police vehicle. Remember your right to remain silent. Be quiet and do not detail anything about your case.
The only time you should speak up is when you have the opportunity to request to speak to your attorney. Continue to repeat your request to speak with your attorney after you are taken to the police station. You will be provided with a phone, a telephone book and enough time to reach out to our law office. Request privacy so the police officer does not hear you speak with our legal team.
Do not Give Consent to be Searched
If the police officer who pulls you over requests to perform a search of you or your vehicle, do not grant permission. You did nothing wrong, so the police officer should not be able to search you or your property. The police officer needs probable cause to search your vehicle without a warrant.
As long as you do not have anything that would prompt probable cause in plain view, the officer will need your consent to perform a search. It is a good idea to decline all requests for such a search as someone who sat in your vehicle might have left something illegal behind. Furthermore, a crooked police officer could easily plant evidence in your vehicle.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, call Crescent City Law at (504) 264-9492. Our attorneys have reviewed hundreds of DWI cases and are aware of details that can help you get the charges thrown out!