What should you do when police stop you?

| Jun 29, 2020 | Firm News |

Being stopped by police is intimidating but you need to keep your wits about you. Otherwise, you may surrender important rights and harm your criminal defense against any charges.

Remember that you have the right to stay silent. If police stop you and you exercise this right, you should tell the officer. You may also refuse to allow police to search you, your vehicle, or your home. You can calmly leave if you are not under arrest.

If police stop you for questioning, you should not run, resist or hinder police even if you are innocent. Keep your hands visible. You may ask if you are free to leave and, if the police allow it, calmly walk away.

Again, you have the right to remain silent. If you choose to remain silent, you should tell the police.

You have the right to refuse to undergo a search, but police may pat down your clothing if they suspect that you possess a weapon. Do not resist the pat down but refuse to submit to an additional search, which can be used against you in a prosecution.

Police may stop you in your car for alleged traffic violations, suspected drunk driving or other crimes. When this occurs, you need to turn off your ignition, turn on the internal light, partially open the window and place your hands on the wheel. You must comply with a police request to show your license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.

You may refuse a request to search your car. However, police can conduct a search if they suspect that it contains evidence of a crime.

You and your passengers also have the right to stay silent. Passengers may ask to leave. If the police approve, passengers should calmly leave or sit silently.

As soon as possible, write down everything that you remember such as badge numbers, patrol car numbers, the officer’s law enforcement agency and contact information for any witnesses. After receiving medical attention, take photographs of any injuries.

You should stay calm and polite. Do not obstruct or interfere with police, argue, resist, fight, lie or give false documents to police. Police misconduct may be addressed by your attorney or by filing a complaint.

You should speak to an attorney as soon as possible following these situations. If you are arrested, obtain legal representation immediately.