What You Should And Should Not Do When Stopped By Police
The red and blue flashing lights of a police car are in your rear view mirror, do you know what to do?
Most people believe they know what to do in this situation, but how much of what they know is based on things their friends, family and even the internet have told them? How much of that information is right and how much of it could lead to serious penalties?
In Florida, traffic stops can lead to charges for moving violations, other traffic offenses or drinking and driving. Police may even use the stop as an excuse to search your vehicle for drugs or controlled substances. We want you to be able to separate the good advice from the bad advice so you know what to do – and what not to do – during a traffic stop.
Your Rights Are Important To Us. If you’ve been pulled over in Florida and believe your rights were violated, the attorneys at Law Firm of Scott T. Moorey can help. Call 239-603-6312 or send an email to get help today.
The Do’s And Don’ts In A Traffic Stop
1.) DO ask to speak to your attorney. Even simple traffic stops can result in civil rights violations. To ensure protection, you need to speak with an attorney and have the right to do so.
DON’T trust your understanding of the law. The “advice” we get from television, movies, friends, family and the internet may not apply in every situation. Your understanding of the law could cause you to jeopardize your rights, which could lead to a worse outcome.
2.) DO pull over as soon as you are safely able to. Not pulling over in a reasonable amount of time could lead to criminal charges for fleeing or attempting to elude an officer.
DON’T try to speed away or outrun police. This can lead to felony charges in Florida, depending on the circumstances in your case.
3.) DO turn on your phone’s video recording feature. Video is your best defense against the old “he said, she said” problem often seen in criminal defense cases.
DON’T trust that the officer has a body camera. If the officer does have a body camera, don’t trust that it has been turned on.
4.) DO present your driver’s license without delay. Failure to present identification can result in further legal issues you will need to address later on.
DON’T be afraid to ask for your license back. If the officer turns over your license to the DMV after resolving your traffic stop, you may face difficulty recovering it.
5.) DO be respectful and polite to the officer. If you treat an officer with respect, they will be more likely to treat you with respect in return.
DON’T be rude, swear or say offensive things to the officer. This will only irritate the officer, making them less likely to be lenient and forgiving.
6.) DO answer the officer’s questions within reason. Be cooperative, but remember you have rights. Let the officer know that you aren’t answering a question if you feel it would violate your rights.
DON’T offer up too much information. Don’t offer up information that could be used against you either. Information willingly given to police can be used against you. So if you think saying something could incriminate you, don’t say it.
7.) DO be prepared for an officer to ask to search your vehicle. If this happens, be aware of your protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Politely refuse the officer’s request until your lawyer is present
DON’T let an officer search your vehicle unless they have a warrant. Respectfully decline the officer’s request.
8.) DO take down the officer’s badge number. This may become relevant if the officer acts unprofessionally, fails to follow proper procedure or otherwise violates your civil rights.
DON’T make statements that suggest you’re trying to get the officer in trouble. This may escalate matters, resulting in your arrest.
You Have Rights – Protect Them
Whether you’ve been pulled over because you were allegedly speeding or because the officer thinks you’re intoxicated, there are procedures and laws police officers must follow in Florida. When law enforcement oversteps their bounds, civil rights violations and instances of excessive force and police brutality can occur. Don’t get caught off guard in a traffic stop. Know your rights and how to defend them.
If you have questions about your rights or need legal representation, contact the Law Firm of Scott T. Moorey, in Fort Myers. We have nearly 20 years of combined legal experience handling cases in every area of criminal law. For a free initial consultation, call 239-603-6312 or send us an email. We’re available when you need us.