The police have stopped me. What do I do?
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The police have stopped me. What do I do?

Anytime you see the flashing lights of a police car behind you, your blood pressure probably rises. You may not know why an officer is pulling you over and you aren’t sure how to react. What you may not realize is that how you handle your traffic stop can impact if you end up facing more than a traffic violation.

To minimize the possibility that you will face drunk driving, drug or weapons charges after a traffic stop, you should follow these six tips when police want to pull you over:

  1. Pull over as soon as you can in a safe location. You don’t want police to think you are trying to avoid a traffic stop.
  2. Be polite and courteous when you speak with the officer who stops you.
  3. Only open your window halfway and keep your hands on the wheel when police approach your vehicle.
  4. Know your rights. You don’t have to answer questions about where you are going or where you are from. You can invoke your right to remain silent. You can refuse a search of your vehicle too. Voluntarily allowing police to search your vehicle may result in you facing more charges if you have drugs or a gun in your vehicle.
  5. Ask if you are free to go once you’ve received a traffic warning or citation.
  6. Ask to contact a criminal defense attorney if police arrest you. You don’t want to answer any more questions from police without an attorney present.

While an officer may seem friendly during a traffic stop, you need to keep in mind that police are looking for signs you are committing a crime. You always can politely refuse to answer police questioning and refuse a vehicle search. Asserting your rights while being calm and polite is the best way to avoid facing serious criminal charges after a traffic stop.