Speaking from experience, getting pulled over by the cops can be frightening.
What Can Happen?
Receiving a ticket for a traffic infraction is no fun, but it pales in comparison to what can happen if things go awry. We have seen time and time again where a routine stop turns volatile, so let’s discuss some tips on how to handle yourself if you find yourself in this situation.
What To Think About
First and foremost, I want to express that the most important tip to dealing with the police is to get out of the encounter ALIVE!
Think about your family and friends, now get back to them. Even if you feel like the cops are violating your rights, try your best to comply with the orders at the moment. Affirmatively state your rights to the officer and if he or she proceeds to violate those rights, we’ll deal with it after you make it home safely to your family.
Two Most Common Scenarios
Two of the most common scenarios involving police interaction include police searches and arrests. The 4th amendment says that people should be free from unreasonable searches and seizures (arrests). ‘Reasonableness’ depends on the circumstances surrounding the search or seizure.
If you are pulled over by the police, NEVER consent to a search.
Even if you feel like you have nothing to hide, you should always refuse a search. You have rights, don’t be afraid to assert them. Asserting your rights in a professional and calm manner will give off the impression that you mean business. It is important however to keep in mind that they may search you and/or your belongings anyway, but affirmatively asserting your non-consent to a search makes it that much harder for law enforcement to justify the search.
What Happens In Most Cases
In most cases, police will need a warrant before they can perform a search, but the law is structured so that this mostly applies to home searches. The law makes it much easier for police to search vehicles. Police are allowed to search your vehicle if they have ‘probable cause.’ Probable cause means that the police have sufficient reason based upon known facts to believe a crime has been committed.
The way probable cause is defined by the law leaves the door open for officers to find probable cause based on anything.
Unlike the rules governing searches, in most cases, police will not need a warrant to arrest you, as long as it is in a public place. However, the police must have an arrest warrant to arrest someone in his or her home. With a proper warrant, the police can affect arrest an individual in his or her own home.
The police cannot, however, search for the individual in the home of a third party without obtaining a separate search warrant for the home.
Have Your Rights Been Violated?
If you feel like your rights have been violated or if you have questions, the criminal defense attorneys at Hale Robinson & Robinson have experience with handling these types of cases.