Detroit Traffic Lawyers Explain
Your Legal Rights in a Police Traffic Stop
Everybody knows that sinking feeling when you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. But what most people don’t know is exactly what their rights are (and aren’t) when stopped by the police. Our experienced Detroit Traffic Lawyers explain what you can, can’t and must do during a traffic stop.
What You Must Do in a Detroit Traffic Stop
You must show your identification if you are stopped while driving. You must also present your vehicle registration and proof of automobile insurance.
If the police suspect that you are driving while intoxicated (or under the influence of a controlled substance) they can require you to submit to a breathalyzer test. You must comply. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test will result in an automatic and immediate suspension of your driver’s license.
You may not, ever, physically resist the police if they try to detain you, search you or handcuff you. It is possible to contest the arrest or detention later in court, but physical resistance during a stop or arrest will almost always lead to additional charges against you.
Your Rights in a Detroit Traffic Stop
If you are stopped while driving, you do not have to answer any additional questions without a lawyer present. However, your level of “cooperation” will often affect how well (or how poorly) you are treated by the officers.
It is wise to be cooperative – but do not try to explain yourself or make excuses. If you do, these statements may be used against you in court.
If you are detained by the police, ask to speak to an attorney as soon as possible and clearly tell the police you will not answer any questions until your lawyer is present. You only have the right to a court-appointed lawyer if: (1.) the crime you are charged with has a penalty of imprisonment; and, (2.) you are indigent and cannot afford an attorney.
After you have been stopped, it is within your legal rights to ask if you are being detained. If the officer says you are not being detained, you are free to leave. You should never run from a police officer or leave without being told that you are not being detained. Leaving can lead to additional charges, such as fleeing and eluding a police officer.
The police are legally allowed to search your body and your car without your consent for firearms or dangerous weapons. The police are also legally allowed to search your car – even without a search warrant – if they have “probable cause” to believe that the car or driver was or is involved in a crime.
If the police take things from you while searching you or your car, you have the right to ask for a receipt for whatever they take.
You may indicate to the officers that you do not consent to a full search of your person – but you may not resist them physically.
Our Detroit Traffic Lawyers Can Help
If you get a ticket or are arrested during the traffic stop, your next step should be to talk to an experienced traffic lawyer. Any improper or illegal behavior by a police officer during a traffic stop can be used by your traffic lawyer to have evidence “suppressed” and/or get your charges dropped or reduced.
Our Detroit area traffic lawyers are committed to offering you the most effective representation in your traffic ticket case, at the most affordable prices. And your first consultation is always FREE.