Some law enforcement officers are not known for their overly friendly demeanor. Yet, regardless of their personality or baseless suspicions, they cannot conduct a traffic stop just because they feel like it. Reasonable suspicion is what the law refers to as a valid reason a police officer may pull over a vehicle. Yet, if an officer stops a vehicle without a reason and discovers evidence of another crime, the exclusionary rule often excludes the evidence resulting from the unlawful detention from being used in court.
But not all the time.
For example, if someone is pulled over and has warrants out for their arrest, whether they are aware of it or not, and the warrant is discovered, the officer may arrest them. The Supreme Court has upheld that the warrants can retroactively justify illegal detentions.
What should you do if you were not speeding, nor was anything amiss with your vehicle, yet you see lights flashing behind you? Perhaps the officer received an emergency call and is hurrying off to provide aid. If this is the case, pull over immediately to the right side of the road. Do NOT continue to drive. Wait quietly in your vehicle until the officer passes and then continue.
The second possibility is the officer is pulling you over for an unknown reason. Keep in mind, he or she is possibly as uptight pulling you over as you are being pulled over. Get over to the side of the road and stop in a safe location. Turn off your engine and your music, and roll down the window keeping your hands where the officer can see them. If you are asked questions, take care to only answer required questions such as your name and where you live.
Finally, perhaps the officer is looking for someone in the area and is asking if you have seen anything. However, they begin asking you questions about your driving, where you are going, or what you were doing before they pulled you over, you do not have to answer. Always remain cooperative but firm.
What to Do if the Officer is Aggressive
- Stay calm.
- Ask for the person's badge number and agency name.
- Follow all orders about your behavior inside the car.
- If it feels like it is escalating, request to speak with an attorney.
If You Believe You Have Been Stopped Unlawfully by Police, Call Steve Karimi
A traffic stop can quickly turn ugly when something goes amiss. If you have been arrested or cited during a traffic stop that you believe was unlawful, knowing the law and your rights is the first place to start. The attorneys at Karimi Law Office are experienced, aggressive attorneys with years of courtroom exposure. Steve Karimi is a former prosecutor and he and his team now help citizens attack their charges and defeat them. Call today to schedule your initial consultation. Learn the truth and begin to put this behind you.