Know Your Rights During a Traffic Stop

There is quite a bit of information floating around telling drivers what they can do if stopped by police . Videos on the Internet claim to illustrate a driver’s rights if pulled over by police, and Social Media accounts post bulletins and other materials related to that same issue. The best thing a driver can do is read information from reliable sources and ask questions from knowledgeable professionals .

Some Facts about Traffic Stops

Traffic stops vary. For example, being pulled over in traffic differs from law enforcement officials conducting a DUI roadblock. It is important to understand the limitations of law enforcement in these different situations and when motorists are required to comply with certain requests. Here are a few things to know:

  • The United States Supreme Court ruled that a roadside sobriety checkpoint does not violate the 4th Amendment, which prohibits intrusions on one’s privacy. If you are asked to pull to the side of the road at a checkpoint, you should comply.
  • At that checkpoint, however, a driver does not have to show identification or vehicle registration UNLESS an officer witnesses signs of intoxication.
  • The same holds true if a traffic stop is conducted on the open road or municipal street, but not initiated by a violation—that is police do not have the right to ask for identification or check vehicle registration.
  • A Federal Appeals Court recently ruled that police DO NOT have the right to look through a vehicle glove box for the registration without the driver’s permission since a simple computer search could determine vehicle registration using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) (which is visible on the outside of all automobiles).

Your Rights During a Traffic Stop

Drivers have a number of rights they can exercise during a traffic stop, which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • If you wish to exercise your right to remain silent, you must first state that is your intent.
  • You can refuse to consent to a search of your vehicle and your person.
  • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to leave (calmly).
  • If you are placed under arrest, immediately ask for legal representation.

A Final Tip

In addition to knowing your rights during a traffic stop, it is always a good idea to remain calm and be polite throughout the process.

Contact an Experienced Will County Traffic Violation Attorney

When you are issued a ticket or taken into custody following a traffic stop, consider seeking help from a knowledgeable Joliet Traffic and Driving defense lawyer. Allow a professional to review your case and learn if follow up action is necessary. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba will review your case and determine the most appropriate defense strategy for you.

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