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Protecting Yourself if Pulled Over by the Police

Posted in Criminal Defense on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Getting pulled over by the police for a traffic violation can be a nerve-wracking experience, even if you have not knowingly committed an offense. As a result, you may be tempted to say or do things that could either put you in danger or could jeopardize your case. The following outlines steps to prepare and protect yourself in these situations.

What to do During a Traffic Stop

As a motorist, it is important to realize the risks officers take every time they approach a stopped vehicle and the behaviors you could engage in that will likely end up escalating the situation. Cyberdrive Illinois, which is sponsored by the Secretary of State, recommends taking the following actions if you see police lights flashing in your rearview mirror:

  • Slow down immediately and pull over to the right at the first safe location.
  • Make sure you are not blocking traffic and are clear of any bridges, guardrails, or medians.
  • Remain in your vehicle, keeping both hands on the wheel as the officer approaches.
  • Wait until instructed to do so before retrieving your driver’s license, registration, and insurance cards.
  • Inform the officer in advance where these items are located in your vehicle before reaching for them.
  • Stay in the vehicle throughout the traffic stop, unless otherwise instructed.

While you want to comply with the officers’ instructions, it is important to be aware of your rights, as well. You have the right to remain silent and to withhold consent for a vehicle search. However, assert these rights calmly and in a non-confrontation manner and be aware that police are entitled to make a search if they have a warrant or probable cause.

What Not to do When Pulled Over by Police

In terms of what not to do, the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offers these tips:

  • Do not try to outrun or otherwise evade the police.
  • Do not argue with the officer about the stop or your ticket.
  • Do not make any sudden movements, either during the stop or if asked to get out of the vehicle.
  • Do not resist if placed under arrest.  

Engaging in any of these behaviors could put you in danger and could result in additional criminal charges.

Contact Our Illinois Traffic Violation Attorneys

Getting a ticket could leave you with heavy fines, higher insurance premiums, and points on your license. Depending on the offense, it could also result in criminal charges. At Sabuco, Beck, Hansen & Massino, P.C., we defend you against all types of traffic violations. Contact our office today and request a consultation to discuss your case.

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