When you see red flashing lights in your rearview mirror, a sense of dread probably comes over you. Maybe you were speeding. Maybe you drove through a red light. You hope you aren’t driving drunk or high if you’re now on your way home after partying with friends.
You’re not sure what to do when police pull you over. You don’t want the situation to escalate. You know you have some marijuana and meth in your glovebox. You really don’t want to face drug charges on top of a speeding ticket. How should you handle this traffic stop and avoid getting in more trouble?
Here are five tips to keep in mind:
- Pull over as soon as you can in a safe spot. Don’t let police think you are trying to avoid being stopped.
- Be polite and courteous to the officer when he speaks with you.
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel and let the officer know if you legally are carrying a gun and where it is.
- Don’t answer police questions. You don’t have to tell police where you are coming from or going. You can invoke your right to remain silent. The more you say to police can lead to you facing an arrest and can be used as evidence against you.
- Don’t consent to a police search. If police ask to search your vehicle, you politely can decline. However, if police have reason to believe you are committing a crime (such as you fail a field sobriety test and police smell marijuana in your vehicle), they may search your car.
If police arrest you after a traffic stop, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. You want an attorney to review your case, to ensure police followed proper protocols in your arrest. You also want an advocate who will work to get your charges reduced and present a strong defense against the charges you face.
If you end up facing drug charges after a traffic stop, a conviction can lead to serious penalties. Your future and freedom is at stake. You want to ensure you take the right steps to getting the best outcome possible.