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  • Writer's pictureJudith Gracey

Stopped by the Police

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

What are my rights when I am stopped by the Police?

We all know that feeling of panic that sets in when you see those red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror. Regardless of whether you think you have done something wrong or not, your heart begins to race as you consider what the officer is going to ask you and how you should respond. Having a basic understanding of your rights and legal obligations when stopped by a police officer will place (at least some of) the control into your own hands.

The first three things a police officer will typically ask you for include: your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. Drivers are legally required to provide all three items to officers and failure to do so can lead to consequences ranging from a fine to jail time, depending on the situation.

However, if you are a passenger in a vehicle that is stopped by police, you are not obligated to provide identification (you may still have to provide your name, age, and address) unless the officer has reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime. Generally, the officer will then ask if you know why he or she pulled you over, along with a series of other questions. You are not legally required to answer any questions without a lawyer present. If a police officer tells you to get out of your vehicle, or gives you any other lawful order, you are legally obligated to comply. So, regardless of whether you think something an officer has asked you to do is valid or not, it is best to do as you are asked at the time and contest the action later if appropriate.

If the police ask to search your car, you can legally consent to the search or not. If you do not consent, officers may still be able to search your car if they have probable cause to believe that you have been involved in a crime. Knowing your rights will allow you to relax and help give you the best possible outcome when dealing with a traffic stop. However, the specifics in each case vary, so it is crucial for you to have a trusted legal counsel you can rely upon if ever you are in (more suited to extreme cases) a legal snafu.

Here at The Gracey Law Firm, we can offer you caliber representation no matter the situation. We can sort out complications, and even offer you a free legal counsel if you ever are in need of one.

Still, it is always important to know what you can do when you accidentally go over the speed limit...

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