Being stopped by police can be a scary situation, especially if you don’t know why you’re being stopped. Not knowing how to handle such an encounter may worsen the situation.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), it’s up to police to prevent an encounter from escalating into something worse. Still, it is critical to understand your rights should you ever find yourself in a situation where you are stopped or questioned by law enforcement officers.
What to do when pulled over by police
First and foremost, if you’ve been pulled over while driving, you must turn off your vehicle, turn on the internal light, open your window and keep your hands on the steering wheel. You must also provide your driver’s license and registration when asked.
You don’t, however, have to answer any questions an officer asks you. You may be asked where you are traveling to or from, and what you are doing. An officer may even ask if you’ve had anything to drink.
In this situation, you are within your rights to remain silent. Anything you tell an officer – even if you are 100 percent innocent – can be misconstrued as incriminating. Answering questions may also increase the likelihood of additional probing for details that can later be used against you in court.
If an officer asks to search your vehicle, you are well within your rights to object. This may not prevent an officer from conducting a search, but could be helpful if you are arrested and brought before a judge.
What if you’re detained or arrested?
If a police officer determines that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol – either through a breath test or field sobriety test – never resist or attempt to talk your way out of it. Simply remain silent and tell law enforcement that you wish to speak to a lawyer.
In addition, you should never sign any paper or make any decision without legal representation. If you have been arrested and booked, you have the right to make a phone call. If that call is made to a lawyer, police may not listen in.
Should you find yourself in this situation, you can speak to an experienced Jacksonville DUI defense attorney at Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. by calling 904-264-6000.
As a former Florida prosecutor, attorney Mark Sieron knows how the criminal justice system works and how to help individuals arrested for DUI fight the charges. If you have any further questions or are in need of legal representation, contact us online to discuss your matter.