Below are a few tips on what you should do when stopped by the police in Ann Arbor. Read on to learn more.
A police officer can stop you in a public place if he/she has a reasonable suspicion to believe that you have committed, are committing, or about to commit a crime. If the officer suspects that you may impose a danger, he/she can legally conduct a quick “pat-down” search of your outer clothing. If the officer feels any weapon or recovers contraband on your person, the office may remove and seize such contents. The officer may proceed in arresting you if incriminating evidence is found on your person. Never resist arrest. Doing so could result in the police using force to restrain you and possible felony charges.
Once a police officer signals for you to stop driving, you should immediately pull over to a safe location. What you do and say when the police stop you could have a huge impact on any following legal proceedings. Whether you are pulled over for a simple traffic violation or a serious crime, your actions could result in criminal prosecution.
After you pull over to a safe location, turn off your car engine and roll your window down. If it is dark outside, turn on your interior car light and make sure your hands are visible. Only identify yourself and present your driver’s license, proof of insurance and car registration to the police officer upon request. You should let the officer do most of the talking. Refrain from making any hostile remarks. Even if you do not agree with the reason as to why the officer pulled you over, do not contest it with the officer. You can go to court later and fight the ticket. Arguing with the officer may only make matters worse. If you feel the situation becoming hostile, exercise your right to politely remain silent.
During the stop, the police officer will conduct a plain view visual inspection of your car. The discovery of one incriminating item in plain view could potentially lead to a more thorough search. The police officer legally has the right to ask you to exit the car (in addition to your passengers). Step out of the car to a safe place if instructed to do so. If the police officer asks to inspect your car, firmly state “No!” The officer may insist on searching your car despite your refusal. If the officer finds something incriminating within your vehicle and had no reasonable suspicion to believe that something criminal was therein, you can challenge the unwarranted search in court.
Contact an Attorney if Arrested
If you are arrested and taken into custody following a police encounter, contact an attorney immediately. Again, exercise your right to remain silent. Inform the police that you will not be answering any of their questions regarding an alleged crime without your attorney being present.
Contact my law office for a consultation regarding any criminal charges resulting from a pedestrian or traffic police stop.