Anytime you see the flashing red lights of a police car in your rear-view mirror is alarming. You may be scared if it’s dark and you’re coming home late from a night out on the town. You may wonder how you should handle this traffic stop, especially if you realize you might have drugs in your glove compartment or tucked in your sun visor.
There are specific steps you can take when police pull you over, to reduce your chances of facing criminal charges after a simple traffic stop. Here are six you should be aware of:
- Pull over safely, not too long after police signal you to stop. You don’t want it to look like you are avoiding stopping.
- Stay calm and treat the officer with respect. Don’t exit your car and try to run. That will for sure lead to police further investigating you. If you are disrespectful and rude when interacting with the officers, the police are more likely to become frustrated and angry, leading them to look closely for signs you could be committing a crime.
- Keep your hands on your steering wheel and tell the officer if you have a registered gun in your car (and where it is).
- Request your right to remain silent from answering any police questioning. You don’t even have to tell police where you are going or where you are coming from. If you say too much, you could give police a reason to think you are driving drunk or high, or have drugs in your vehicle.
- You don’t have to consent to police searching your vehicle.
- If police do arrest you, ask to call an attorney right away. You want to contact an experienced defense attorney, especially before you answer any more questions from police. Undergoing police questioning without an attorney present can lead to you facing even more criminal charges and giving police evidence against you.
If you handle a police stop correctly, you could end up with a minor traffic ticket or warning. More importantly, you could avoid an escalation with police, in which you end up facing serious criminal charges.