From having a broken tail light to swerving out of a lane to speeding, all drivers are likely to be pulled over by the police at one point or another – and for one reason or another. Even if you are the most law abiding individual, there’s a chance that you will be pulled over while you are driving. Of course, you may be quick to comply and do whatever the officer who pulls you over says in an effort to make the situation pass as quickly as possible and to avoid getting into serious trouble; however, it’s important to understand that you do have rights when you are pulled over. Unfortunately, there have been instances where law enforcement officials have illegally requested drivers to do things, which have lead to unlawful arrests and even convictions.
What Are Your Rights?
So, what are your legal rights when it comes to being pulled over? According to our Miami criminal defense lawyers, no matter what the reason is, the following rights are legally granted to you, and law enforcement officials must abide by them:
- Stopping safely. When you see the flashing lights behind you and hear sirens, you must slow down as quickly as possible. Doing so lets the police know you see them and are responding to their request to pull over. Once you have slowed down, however, you are legally allowed to drive to a location where you can safely pull over. You should not be expected to pull over in a high traffic area, or a location that is dimly light, for example; however, you should also make sure that you pull over in the safest location that you find nearest to you. Leading a cop on for miles so that you can find a ‘safe space’ could result in big trouble.
- Remain silent. Just like any encounter with the police, you have the right to remain silent if you are pulled over, as per our Miami criminal defense lawyers. The only information that you are legally required to provide is your license, registration and proof of insurance. Beyond this, you are not legally obligated to provide any further information. If you are going to speak, our Miami criminal attorney advises you to be polite, courteous and cooperative; if you are rude and belligerent, you could get yourself in serious trouble.
- Refuse searches. A police officer must ask your permission – and receive it – prior to searching your vehicle without probable cause, and you are legally allowed to refuse the request. However, it’s important to know that there are exceptions. If there is any probable cause, a search can commence without your consent. Also, so long as the stop is not extended on purpose, an officer has the right to allow a police dog around your vehicle without your consent, and if the dog finds any drugs or other contraband, the officer can execute a search.
- You are NOT Allowed to Remain in Your Vehicle. Though you may have heard that you are not legally obligated to get out of your vehicle if an officer asks, that is not the truth. You are legally required to exit the vehicle at the request of an officer; this not only goes for the driver, but for passengers, as well.
If you have been pulled over – for any reason – and you believe your rights have been violated, contact a Miami criminal law firm as soon as possible.
Our Miami criminal defense lawyers are highly knowledgeable in all of the laws pertaining to traffic stops. In the event your rights were violated, our attorney will defend your rights to the fullest extent of the law.
We handle a variety of criminal law cases, so call us now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Miami Criminal Defense Lawyers.