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How to handle a traffic stop

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2021 | Blog, DWI

Getting pulled over by a police officer in New York can be nerve racking for any driver. It’s almost always a surprise, and a lot of people feel unprepared for the interaction. If you prepare mentally ahead of time, the situation won’t catch you so off-guard.

Pull over and choose your words carefully

The first thing to remember when you notice a police officer following you with flashing lights is to pull over. As soon as you find a safe place, pull over as quickly as you can and turn off your engine. The longer you wait to pull over, the more reason you are giving the police officer to suspect you of a crime.

When the officer approaches your car, don’t assume that you know why you have been pulled over. Your assumption could be wrong, and even if it’s right, it will only give the police officer more reason to suspect that you are guilty. Instead, ask the police officer why you have been pulled over.

Police do not need a warrant to search your car

Not every traffic stop involves a vehicle search, however, police do not need a warrant to search your car. Police do need to have probable cause, though, so you should ask the officer what crime they suspect you of if they want to search your car.

If a police officer asks to search your car, they may be trying to get your permission to perform a search that they have no probable cause for. You have the right to decline a vehicle search, but you shouldn’t resist a vehicle search if they continue to insist on one.

You can refuse sobriety tests, but it will cost you

Many traffic stops involve sobriety tests for DWI, and it’s important to be aware that these tests are not perfect. You have the right to refuse a sobriety test, but the downside is that it could result in a license suspension and a fine.

Consider setting up a dash cam

If you have a dash cam, you could record every police encounter for your own protection. That way, if the police officer accuses you of resisting arrest, you will have the video footage to prove otherwise.

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