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You’re Getting Pulled Over – Now What?

March 24, 2013

 

No matter how you live your life, you are bound to have a run-in with the police at one time or another. When we encounter law enforcement, we often feel intimidated even when we have broken no laws. Perhaps it is from watching too many crime shows that have portrayed an innocent person being falsely accused and ending up in prison. I am here to give you the tools to protect yourself should you find yourself in a situation as minor as being pulled over for speeding to being questioned as part of a serious investigation.

As a citizen of the United States of America – You Have Rights

Everyone has either witnessed an arrest in a movie or tv shows where some is getting arrested. Many of us, have seen it up close and personal. As he’s making the arrest, the officer begins his dialogue (officially referred to as Miranda Rights), with “You Have the Right to Remain Silent.” This is the big one that tends to get overlooked in the moment of emotion-stricken panic. Remember, being silent cannot be held against you in a court of law. If you do decide to talk, ANYTHING you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Many of your are thinking, “I’m 100% innocent, why shouldn’t I defend myself?” That makes sense on the surface, but there have been many people who have ended up in jail or prison due to grave injustices in the judicial system. Don’t believe me? Do some Google searches and you’ll be shocked and appalled at what you find.

You’re Getting Pulled Over – Think Fast and Stay Calm

Out of nowhere you see flashing blue lights in your rear-view mirror. First of all, slow down, and take a deep breath, and turn your blinker on. Nothing screams “I have something to hide” like acting nervous.

Veer slightly to the right towards the side of the road or shoulder depending on your situation. Keep your hands in plain-sight. If the stop occurs when it’s dark outside, turn on your interior lights. Try to keep your drivers license, registration, and insurance card above your visor or somewhere that’s easily accessible so you’re not digging in your glove box, creating a reason for the officer to become nervous.

Upon approaching your vehicle, stay calm and courteous. Keep a smile on your face to put the officer at ease. Do not complain or hurl insults; that will never get you anywhere. Keep your emotions in check, and think before you speak.

Always keep your hands in plain-sight. Never make any sudden movements towards the officer, and definitely don’t put your hands on him/her under any circumstances, and I think it goes without saying, never, ever run. Whether it be on foot or in your vehicle.

Keep Your Mouth Shut!

Now that you’re both relaxed–or as relaxed as can be given the circumstances–he’s going to ask for your name, birthday, and possibly your social security number. Shortly thereafter she will most likely ask for your license/registration/insurance. This is all that you are required to answer. In some states, you’re not even required to show them your I.D. Be sure to check your state and local laws to be certain. At this point, the officer has more than enough information to perform his job. If you can keep your mouth close, you just may come out unscathed.

Your RIGHT to remain silent

Did you know that the Supreme Court, and pretty much every criminal lawyer in the world, says that you should not talk to the police, even if you’re not being arrested? Although you should not just ignore the officer’s questions, the Supreme Court has ruled that you must relay the message verbally by saying “I am reserving my right to remain silent” or “I’m going to remain silent.” This way they know you’re not just trying to be difficult. Chances are, you will not be charged with a crime, nor falsely accused of one. Remember, before or after an arrest, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Vehicle Searches

Just because an officer asks you to search your vehicle that in no way obligates you to obey. Otherwise he wouldn’t be asking, he would be telling. A law enforcement officer only has the right to search if:

A.) There is probable cause. Probable cause definitions can vary from state-to-state, so be sure to research that before you find yourself in a precarious position. Drugs, guns, and large sums of money are what it boils down to.

B.) If you have already been arrested, the arresting officer is entitled to conduct a warrantless search of your vehicle excluding the trunk.

C.) If verbal permission is given (by you) for the officer to perform the search (Never, ever, do this!)

 

After all, he wouldn’t be asking for your consent if a legitimate reason for him to do so existed, would he?

If he/she proceeds to search without your explicit permission, do not resist, just politely repeat, “I do not consent to this search. I do not consent to this search.”

Am I free to go?

As soon as they begin questioning you, simply ask “Am I free to go?” If not, they will assume that you are having a conversation with them of your own free will. If you end up getting arrested or detained, simply reiterate, “I am reserving my right to remain silent,” and keep your mouth shut!

So remember the three key phrases that law enforcement hates to hear:

I’m reserving my right to remain silent”

I do not consent to a search”

Am I free to go”

Silence is not an admission of guilt and cannot be used against you in court! When in doubt, shut your mouth, shut your mouth, shut your mouth.

Chief Wiggums Approves of this Message!

Chief_Wiggum

Resources:

The American Civil Liberties Union: http://aclu.org

Check Out This Informative Video for More Info:

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