Being pulled over by the police is often stressful. It can also be confusing for many motorists, since they may not be fully aware of their rights. While it’s important to follow police directives when pulled over, you should also be aware of your rights so you can identify if they’re being violated. To help drivers, Business Insider offers the following information.
While it’s crucial to comply with the officer’s directives, your safety is also important. Accordingly, you’re allowed to wait to pull over until you can safely do so. For instance, if you’re on a highway with no shoulder, you may need to drive a distance before reaching an area where you can stop your vehicle. In this case, try to indicate you’re aware of the situation by using your signal or gesturing to the officer.
If you’re asked to step out of the vehicle, it’s best to do so. In many cases, officers ask people to step out of their vehicles as a safety precaution against concealed weapons. You’re not obligated to leave the vehicle when requested but bear in mind that it can intensify the situation quickly. In the same respect, you’re within your rights to refuse a breathalyzer. However, implied consent laws mean that it’s likely your license will be suspended if you do so.
If the police ask to search your vehicle without a warrant, you can refuse. There are certain situations when law enforcement is permitted to search a vehicle without a warrant in place. If drugs or illegal paraphernalia are in plain view of the officer within your vehicle, he is permitted to conduct a search. Officers are also allowed to conduct a vehicle search without a warrant if you’re arrested with probable cause. Finally, your vehicle may be searched due to exigent circumstances. This refers to the destruction of evidence, which allows police to act without a warrant to prevent this destruction.