It’s happened to most of us. You’re driving along minding your own business and out of nowhere a cop with flashing lights is pulling you over. Maybe you had forgotten to put your seatbelt on or maybe you were speeding. No matter what the reason everyone’s stomach usually drops at the idea of a pricey ticket and a conversation with a police officer. If you’re lucky the traffic stop goes smoothly, if you’re unlucky a minor traffic violation can turn into much more. The officer will likely ask you if you have anything illegal in your car such as drugs, a firearm or alcohol. For must of us we can honestly say no to this question but that isn’t always the case. If you are stopped and you know you have something illegal in your car your best bet is to politely refuse to talk without a lawyer present. Other then your name and identifying information you have the right to remain silent. Be careful if the officer asks to search your car. You should never consent to any search but if you say no, the officer can document your refusal in his/her report or worse say you did consent even when you didn’t. The judge will most likely believe whatever the officer writes down. Instead you should politely say, “I have been advised by my lawyer never to allow a search of myself, home or car without a warrant”. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your rights. Even if you have nothing to hide you can never be sure what other people may have left in your car. If the officer threatens to get drug sniffing drugs, let him! Usually he will be bluffing and he can only detain you as long as it takes to write you a ticket, which is about ten minutes. You have nothing to gain by being cooperative. If you are the victim of an illegal search, you may be able to have the evidence suppressed.
We want to hear your stories! Have you had a bad experience during a traffic stop? Have you ever been searched illegally?