Seeing the flashing lights and hearing the sirens near you, approaching you, and signaling you to pull over can be scary. Whether or not you know why an officer is trailing you trying to get you to stop your vehicle, what you do next matters. To best protect yourself and to make the stop go as smoothly as possible, there are some things to know about how to interact with the officer and what your rights are during a traffic stop.
When a Police Officer Pulls You Over
There are actions you can take and behaviors you can engage in that can minimize the potential negative outcomes that can take place when a California highway patrol officer pulls you over on the road. Here are some useful tips to be aware of:
- Do what you can to show the officer you are interested in their safety. So pull over and stop your car, and keep your hands on the wheel.
- Be courteous when speaking to the officer.
- If you see a police car near you or behind you, double-check that you are driving responsibly and lawfully so you do not give the officer a reason to pull you over in the first place.
- Look for a safe location away from oncoming traffic to stop, but if there is not one available fairly quickly, use your turn signal and find an area off of the road to stop your vehicle.
- If you are pulled over at night, put on your car’s interior lights so that the officer has a more clear view of who is inside of your car.
- If the officer wants to search your vehicle, unless they have a warrant, they typically will have to get your consent to do so. You do not have to agree to a search of your car. If the officer searches your car without your permission or a warrant, there must be a valid reason to do it and the officer will have to justify their actions in court.
- When an officer pulls you over, remain calm and collected. Speak clearly to the officer and use a tone of respect.
While there is no way to take the stress out of a traffic stop, taking certain steps and behaving in specific ways can reduce the potential that it becomes a disastrous or even deadly event. If you are arrested or if you believe that you were treated unlawfully by the officer, you can take action after the situation is over. Calling a San Diego criminal defense lawyer is recommended to have your case evaluated and to learn about your legal options.
Speak to a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Today
At The Law Offices of David M. Boertje, our San Diego criminal defense attorney is dedicated to fighting to preserve the rights and freedoms of those that were treated unfairly by law enforcement or facing criminal charges. For help after an arrest or a wrongful search and seizure incident, you can schedule a free consultation with attorney David M. Boertje by calling (619) 229-1870 for the San Diego office or (760) 476-0901 for the Carlsbad location.