What To Do (And Not Do) When Pulled Over By The Police
Getting pulled over by the police can be nerve-wracking, even if you know that you’ve done nothing wrong. What do you do? What should you say? What shouldn’t you say? Read on for a list of “dos” and “don’ts” for police traffic stops.
What To DO When Pulled Over:
When you are pulled over by the police, the best thing you can do is to remain as calm as you can. Here are some tips on what to do when pulled over to ensure that the traffic stop goes as smoothly as possible:
- When you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror, pull over to a safe location as soon as possible.
- Once you have stopped, turn off your vehicle’s ignition.
- Keep your hands visible to the officer at all times. The best way to ensure that the officer can see your hands is by putting your hands on the steering wheel.
- If you have passengers in the car, remind them to stay calm.
- When the officer approaches, speak calmly and respectfully to the police officer.
- Comply with the officer’s request for your license, proof of insurance, and registration.
- Let the officer know if you need to reach into your glovebox or elsewhere for requested documentation.
- If the situation escalates and you are placed under arrest, remain calm and cooperate with the officer.
- Remember your 5th amendment right to remain silent. You are required to identify yourself, show your driver’s license, registration and insurance if requested, but you are not required to answer other questions.
- If you answer questions, be truthful.
What NOT To Do When Pulled Over:
- Do not make any sudden movements or attempt to run away
- Do not argue with the officer or give them attitude. This may aggravate the officer or incriminate you.
- Do not overshare with the officer. Remember, the 5th amendment protects you from self-incrimination. You do not have to answer the officer’s questions after you share your name, driver’s license, insurance, and registration, but if you do, keep your responses short, sweet, and to the point.
- Do not get out of the vehicle unless instructed to do so by the officer.
- If you are placed under arrest, do not resist arrest.
Do You Have To Comply With The Officer’s Requests?
If you are stopped by the police, you are legally required to give them your name, driver’s license, insurance and registration when prompted. You do not have to answer any other questions. Remember that you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Even innocent-seeming questions such as “do you know why I pulled you over?”, “where are you coming from?” or “have you had any drinks tonight?” can lead to accidentally self-incriminating responses. When asked these questions, it is best to gently remind the officer that you are choosing to exercise your 5th amendment right to remain silent.
If the officer suspects that you are intoxicated and asks you to submit to a breath test or other field sobriety test, you have the right to decline to do so in Wisconsin. With that being said, the officer may choose to take you back to the station to submit to chemical testing. Refusal to submit to chemical testing will result in an automatic license revocation. Often, even if you refuse, the police will obtain a warrant, get your blood anyway, and you will be charged with refusal.
If you are pulled over by the police, the best thing you can do is remain calm and polite. If you have questions, ask them calmly, and remember that you have the right to remain silent and do not have to answer any of the officer’s questions.
If a recent traffic stop led to a suspected OWI arrest, contact an expert OWI/DUI defense attorney to guide you through the “do’s” and “don’ts” of the OWI process.