Proceeding With Caution After Getting Pulled Over
You are driving home from a bar or restaurant after having a few drinks with your friends. Red and blue lights begin flashing behind you, and you hear a police siren. A cop is pulling you over for a traffic stop, and you do not know what to do.
You have certain rights and protections when it comes to traffic stops in Lawrenceburg and the rest of Indiana. So, what should you do if you are pulled over by a cop?
Invoke Your Right To Remain Silent
Some people believe that they can talk their way out of a ticket or an arrest, but this is a major misconception. Many people inadvertently incriminate themselves when speaking to police officers. As soon as you begin speaking, cops can use your words to build a criminal case against you. Tell the officer that you are invoking your right to remain silent.
Beware Of Breathalyzers, Field Sobriety Tests And Blood Tests
The officer might ask you to take a Breathalyzer, perform field sobriety tests and submit a blood sample. Here are your rights regarding each one:
- You do not have to perform field sobriety tests. If you have had injuries to your feet, ankles, knees or back, you need to inform the officer of your physical inability to perform the field sobriety tests. If the officer still requests you to take the test, politely refuse.
- Indiana’s implied consent laws do require you to take a Breathalyzer if an officer requests it. While the officer cannot force you to take a Breathalyzer, you will lose your license for a year if you decline. While the laws in other states may not punish a refusal with an automatic license suspension, Indiana WILL enforce a one-year suspension.
Do Not Give Permission For A Search Or Seizure
If a police officer asks to search your vehicle, politely decline. You do not have to let cops search your car. Cops need a search warrant or probable cause before they can search your car without your permission. However, if you do grant them permission, then they can use anything that they find in your car against you.
If an officer suspects that you have illegal drugs in the car, he or she will call for a trained K-9 to sniff for the drugs.
If You Are Arrested
If the officer arrests you for OWI or any other charge, you should stay silent and request an attorney. Sometimes, police officers may tell you that you must talk to them, or that you will be in greater trouble if you do not speak. This is not true: do not give an interview before consulting a lawyer.
We cannot overstate the importance of this point. Attorney David Zerbe can help ensure that law enforcement follows proper procedures and respects your rights.