When you see the flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror, you know you’re being pulled over. What do you do next? In this two-part series, a federal criminal defense attorney in Tampa will provide you with several helpful tips to ensure that a basic traffic stop doesn’t escalate into something much worse. If you have been wrongfully accused of a crime, consult with the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at The Rickman Law Firm.
As soon as you see the lights flashing, the first thing you need to do is to pull off of the road in a safe area away from traffic. You need to make certain that you are providing the officer with adequate space to exit their vehicle and approach yours. If the police car is unmarked, you should park in a well lit, public location.
Once your car is parked, you should roll down your window (cracked if you prefer), turn off your radio, and turn on the interior light (if it’s nighttime). It’s never a bad idea to also put both hands in a visible area like on the steering wheel. These may sound like obvious tips, but being cooperative during this process can greatly reduce your chances of making this situation any worse.
As the officer approaches your vehicle, this should be the most telling part of your experience. The officer should inform you of why they pulled you over; however, some crafty cops may try to get you to divulge this information so that you incriminate yourself. If the officer doesn’t immediately tell you why you have been pulled over, you have a right to ask. With that being said, it’s always best to let the officer do the majority of the talking. Remember, it’s a lot easier to talk yourself into a ticket than out of one.
During a tense situation, like being pulled over, you need to avoid escalating the situation with a negative attitude toward the police officer. Etiquette and cooperation can make a difficult situation infinitely better. If the officer makes a reasonable request, obey it. Of course, it’s also important to not allow the officer to go beyond their legal rights.
In the second part of this series, we will provide you with some more insight into your legal rights during a traffic stop.
For a free consultation with an experienced federal defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.