Protect yourself during a traffic stop!

A frequent question most people have is "what do I need to do to protect my rights if I am pulled over for a traffic stop?" Or- "What is the proper procedure in ensuring I know what's right and wrong when approached by law enforcement?" And it's a great question! Below are some do's and don'ts when interacting with an officer. 

To begin, when pulling over on the side of the road for a traffic stop- do not attempt to reach under your seat or into your glove box for any reason. Wait until the officer comes to your window and if you need to reach for license or registration, inform the officer where it is located and they will give you the go-ahead to locate it. It is also important that you wait in your car for the officer to approach. DO NOT, under any circumstance, open your door or exit your vehicle without being instructed to do so. 

If you're thinking of pulling out your phone to record the interaction between you and the officer for your safety- YOU CAN. But be mindful that holding a phone in front of your face or in front of an officer's face can become a nuisance and interfere with the officer's ability to do their job and set you on your way.  So keep in mind that using a phone to protect yourself is very different than using your phone to be confrontational or uncooperative.

"If they want to take the phone out and set it to the side and record us--that's fine, there's nothing we can do to stop them," - anonymous Georgia State Trooper. 

While you're recording, the officer may ask you to step out of the car, and getting out of the car is something you do have to comply with whether or not an officer gives you a reason.

But once you're out of the car, if they ask to search it, you can SAY NO. A police officer must have probable cause to search your vehicle. But remember- if there is anything suspicious or questionable in plain sight- that gives the officer cause to search your vehicle. This may also include smells and odors. 

Another misconception a lot of people seem to have is, "I don't have to answer any questions." While this is partially true you are still required by law to give the officer your name and driving information along with anything else which may help the officer identify you.

If you are being stopped for speeding, politely ask the officer to show you the radar showing how your speed was calculated and the reading itself. You have a right to know and a right to be shown. 

If for any reason you feel like the traffic stop is making you uncomfortable, the side of the road is not the place to argue. That is what the Courts are for. Your ticket is simply a summons to appear in Court. 

 Now hire a skilled attorney to assist you with your citation.