December 23, 2020

How to Handle a Traffic Stop

One moment, you’re on the road, humming along to the radio. The next, you’ve got flashing lights in your rearview mirror.

You may feel unprepared to deal with a traffic stop. Talking with the police can be an uncomfortable experience, and you may be worried about making your situation worse. To make your traffic stop as easy as possible, make sure you take the steps below when you’re stopped by a police officer.

Stay Calm During the Traffic Stop

When you’re at a traffic stop, one of the best things you can do for your case is to stay calm. Panicking and driving away or acting aggressively toward the police officer may lead to more serious charges and even an arrest.

Stay calm and pull over safely instead of panicking. Be sure you pull onto a shoulder or side road and away from traffic. That makes the situation safer for you and for the police officer. Be sure you keep your hands on the steering wheel, too. That shows the police officer quickly that you don’t have a weapon, which can help the stop go more smoothly.

Watch What You Say

But it’s not just about what you do during the traffic stop. It’s also about what you say. Anything you say to the police officer may be used against you in court. That means watching what you say when you’re asked, “Do you know why I pulled you over today?”

Typically, it’s best to say that you don’t know and to ask for clarification. Telling the officer what happened may indicate you knew you were speeding, for example, or failed to stop at a stop sign. That knowledge can be used against you in an Illinois courtroom.

Know Your Rights

Every driver also has certain rights and other concerns during a traffic stop. For example, the police may want to search your car, but that may infringe on your rights. Residents of Illinois cannot have their homes or vehicles searched without probable cause. That means, unless the police have reason to believe you’re committing a crime, your vehicle can’t be searched.

But what if they suspect you were driving under the influence? They may want to give you a sobriety test if they claim you were swerving or speeding. In these cases, you may need to take the test even if you’re unsure you’ll pass. If you refuse a sobriety test, your license may be suspended automatically, leaving you without a license even if you were sober.

Talk with a Lawyer After a Traffic Stop

When you’re pulled over in a traffic stop, it can be a little scary. But panicking can cause even more trouble. Taking the right steps during a traffic stop can make dealing with the traffic ticket easier.

When you have a traffic ticket, the next step is to seek help from the lawyers at Chicago Trusted Attorneys™. Your lawyer can take your case to court and work to get that ticket reduced or dismissed. When you’re ready to plead not guilty and prepare a defense for your case, reach out by calling 312-519-3171 or by completing the online contact form below.