Steps to Take if Pulled Over by the Police
We all dread being stopped by a police officer, whether it’s for a speeding violation or for the police to conduct an investigation for some other criminal act. For a police officer to stop a vehicle they have to have “reasonable articulable suspicion” that you have committed a crime or traffic violation or to say in another way the police have a reasonable suspicion of involvement in a punishable crime. In other words, they have to be able to describe a valid reason why they are stopping you and it cannot be for some random reason or just because they feel like doing it.
Traffic Stop in Maryland
To Ensure that you don’t raise additional suspicion when they police stop you, here are some suggestions to follow to make the traffic stop smoother:
- Stop your car in a safe place and as quickly as possible after the police indicate they are trying to pull you over. Try to not stop in the middle of the roadway, try to find a side street or non-travel lane on a highway.
- Turn your car off and turn on the inside light if it is nighttime. This will make the police officer more comfortable as he or she approaches your vehicle.
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel or where the officer can see them. Police officers will often say; “hands can kill you,” that is why they always want to see your hands for their safety.
- Be respectful to the police officer. Often times a traffic stop that would have been routine turns into a bigger deal because the person stopped treated the officer poorly. Most officers want to conduct the stop, issue a warning or ticket and move on. If you make it easier for them then they may give you a break.
- The side of the road is not the place to argue your case, save it for the trial date. If you are issued a payable traffic ticket or tickets, you have to make a decision to either pay the tickets, request a waiver hearing or request a trial.
- Provide to the police officer your vehicle registration, proof of insurance and driver’s license. That is all you have to provide and all you have to say. You are not required to answer any questions or provide any other information to the officer. The more you tell the police officer, the more evidence he may have against you to prove you committed a crime of traffic violation.
- If you are issued a ticket, sign it. There is no benefit to not signing the ticket and it can result in more tickets.
- If you are suspected of drunk driving, you may refuse all tests, but your driver’s license may be suspended and you may be required to enroll in an ignition interlock program.
- If you are arrested after a traffic stop, contact the Randolph Rice criminal defense lawyers at 410.288.2900 for immediate legal help.
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