Protect Your Rights When You Are Pulled Over
It can be difficult to think clearly when you see police lights flashing in your rearview mirror. Officers know that drivers are in a difficult position during a traffic stop and take advantage of this situation. They often rely on fear and the element of surprise to get drivers to consent to a search, which can lead to an arrest and criminal charges.
Far too often, I have represented Lynchburg residents who unknowingly gave up their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure when they were pulled over by the police. As a criminal defense attorney and longtime resident of the area, I consider it my duty to ensure that Virginia police officers are not violating the law when they are monitoring our streets.
I want to help you protect your constitutional rights at all times, which is why I’m sharing this information with you.
Points To Keep In Mind During A Traffic Stop
- When you are pulled over, act respectfully to avoid creating a conflict.
Do not give an officer a reason to arrest you. Speak calmly and politely to the officer to avoid escalating the situation. If you are providing your license and registration, move slowly when reaching for this information.
- The officer cannot search your car unless he or she has a warrant.
There are limited situations in which an officer can conduct a search without a warrant. Demand to see the warrant before you give up your phone or allow the officer to look in your car.
- Do not consent to a search.
If you give the officer permission to search your car, whatever is found during this inspection can be used against you.
- Do not allow officers to access your phone.
If you allow officers to review your text messages, pictures or internet search history, this information can be taken out of context and used to build a case against you.
- The officer is allowed to lie or use tricks to obtain information, but you can be charged for lying to a police officer.
You may not know why you were pulled over by the police. Do not attempt to defend yourself by creating a story about your whereabouts or the contents in your car. Before you create unnecessary legal trouble, ask for a lawyer and stop talking.
The police may suggest that only guilty people request an attorney, but this is not true. You have a right to skilled counsel. Exercise it as soon as possible.