Being stopped by a police officer while you are driving can be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience. As a civil rights lawyer like one from Eric Siegel Law knows, police encounters can quickly become tense. However, if you are ever stopped by police you have to remain calm and follow the instructions the police officer asks you. Knowing your rights at a traffic stop is crucial to ensuring that the encounter does become more complicated than it needs to be. This prevents you from making mistakes that can make the interaction take a serious turn, which could put both you and the officer at risk. Keep the following things in mind if you have an encounter with police while you’re on the road.
Have a Respectful Tone
When the office first approaches you, make sure to be friendly and greet them respectfully. You may be nervous or frustrated, but you don’t want to respond negatively right away. How you react can change the tone of the interaction. When you talk to the officer, keep your tone even, calm and courteous. Avoid expressing frustration, anger, or sarcastic remarks. Staying polite throughout your conversation will keep the interaction from escalating.
Keep Your Hands Visible
Make sure to keep your hands on the wheel and visible to the officer. Don’t reach for any objects without stating what you intend to do first. If you need to grab your wallet to show your driver’s license for example, ask permission from the officer. You must keep your hands visible at all times so the officer can be sure that you are not reaching for a weapon.
Many people know that one of their rights whenever they are approached by police is the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer all of the questions that a police officer asks. The only things you need to provide by law are your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information. Anything else is information that you do not have to give if you are uncomfortable to do so. If you want to, you can request a lawyer so that they can speak on your behalf.
Knowing how to act during a traffic stop is essential so you can keep your interactions with police short and minimize the chances of it turning into a charged confrontation. You should follow an officer’s instruction and act respectfully, but you should also be aware of your rights. If you have concerns about a possible violation of your civil rights, contact a civil rights lawyer that you can trust.