Your Rights During A Traffic Stop
Every driver dreads seeing flashing blue lights in the rearview mirror and being pulled over by a police officer. Many drivers in Maine likely assume that they must answer every question an officer poses and comply with his or her every request. However, doing so can sometimes result in a violation of your rights and even criminal charges.
At Elias Law Offices, we believe in providing access to the information you need to protect and promote your rights. This includes understanding what your rights are during a traffic stop.
What You Say And Do During A Traffic Stop Matters
In any interaction with a law enforcement official, it is important to be polite and not to engage in verbal or physical actions that could be interpreted as aggressive or obstructing. To protect your rights during a traffic stop, keep the following things in mind:
- Right to refuse consent to search your vehicle – If a police officer wants to search your vehicle, he or she must have probable cause to do so or obtain a search warrant.
- Right to remain silent – You are not legally required to answer a police officer’s questions and have the right to respectfully decline to answer those you do not wish to answer or believe may not be in your best interest to answer.
- Right to record your interaction – Cellphones make it easy to record audio and/or video of your interactions with a police officer. Recording a traffic stop can discourage certain behaviors by both parties and also, if necessary, provide important evidence.
- Right to information – If you have concerns that your rights were violated during a traffic stop, it is important to know that you have a right to ask a police officer for his or her name and badge number.
In cases where you are pulled over and subsequently arrested and charged with OUI/DWI, drug possession, operating after suspension, or some other crime, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will review your case, advise you of your rights and options and represent you as your case moves forward.