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Know Your Rights During a Police Stop

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

Police car stop

If you are stopped by the police, it is very important that you know your rights and what you should do. When the police put on their lights you must pull over. You should pull over as soon as it is possible to do safely. If there is no safe place to pull over, make sure you maintain a slow speed so the police know you aren’t trying to escape. As soon as there is a place to pull over, do so immediately and try to park your car to not block traffic. Turn off the car once you are parked.

When the police approach your car, keep your hands on the steering wheel and in sight of the police the entire time. Never get out of the car without being asked and do not duck out of sight or reach for things inside of the car. If the police can’t see your hands or you they may suspect that you have something illegal or weapons inside the car it can lead to a very dangerous situation for you. Using your hands to reach for things without permission may also give the police a reason to pat you down or look inside of the car. It is never a good idea to reach for anything without the officer’s permission.

The first thing the police will generally ask if for your license and registration. The police may ask where you were coming from, what you have been doing, and where are you going. You don’t not need to answer any of the officer’s questions. In fact, if you have something illegal inside the car it is better that you don’t answer any questions. You do want to be polite, if you decline to speak to the police, just say I don’t wish to make any statements.

If the police ask that you get out of the car, you need to follow their instructions. When getting out of the car make sure you do not put your hands in your pockets and keep them in view. Never run away it will only make the situation much worse. If you run from the police, you will likely face more criminal charges. The police may ask you to search the car or your person. You are never required to consent to the search of your person or your car. In fact, you should not consent to these searches especially if you have something illegal on your person or your car. If the police ask you any questions, tell them that you wish to remain silent and speak with an attorney.

Getting pulled over by the police can is a stressful and tense situation for most people. The most important thing is that you be safe and allow the police officer to feel safe with your actions.

Do you know your rights during a police stop? Take our 10 question quiz.

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