Being stopped by police is an anxiety-inducing event for many, as the fear of not knowing what could happen can cause you to panic. These emotions can lead you to come off as argumentative or offer too much information, which can cause you to incriminate yourself. If you’re pulled over by law enforcement while driving, knowing how to handle the situation is crucial. Houston Criminal defense attorneys can help you navigate the circumstances if you’ve been arrested following a traffic stop.
What Should I Do When I Notice I’m Being Pulled Over?
If you’re driving and notice a police officer with their lights on behind you, try to remain calm. Using your turn signal, you’ll want to slowly pull as far to the right side of the road to impact the flow of traffic as little as possible.
Once you’ve stopped, you should put your hazard lights on, turn on the interior lights of your car (if it’s dark out), roll down the window, and turn your engine off. You should also refrain from reaching for anything around your vehicle; instead, keep your hands on the wheel until otherwise instructed by the officer.
It is also vital that you don’t remove your seatbelt, make any sudden movements, or exit the vehicle unless otherwise instructed.
Do I Have to Answer Questions?
During a traffic stop, the officer will likely ask you many questions. It is essential to understand that you are not legally obligated to answer. The only information you must provide is your license, registration, and proof of insurance.
Many also accidentally incriminate themselves by answering questions that are asked in a way to make them admit guilt. For example, if an officer asks if you’ve had any drinks, you may want to be honest and admit you had a couple to prove you are under the legal limit. However, this is an admission of guilt, which could land you in handcuffs. Instead, remaining silent is recommended, as silence is not an admission of guilt.
You also do not have to consent to your car being searched, unless an officer suspects there is evidence of a crime in your vehicle.
What Should I Do if I’m Arrested During a Traffic Stop?
If you accidentally admitted to having a few drinks or failed a field sobriety test, chances are you will be put under arrest. Though frightening, try to remain as calm as possible.
Under no circumstances should you try to resist or flee from your arrest. This can only make matters worse, adding additional charges to your record. If you choose to remain silent, you should announce this out loud while requesting the presence of your attorney.
If you’re facing criminal charges after a traffic stop, you’ll need a competent lawyer to help keep your record clean. The Gonzalez Law Group is here to help. We will fight to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your circumstances. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation.