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What happens if you are pulled over by the police?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Many people don’t think they’ll ever be pulled over by the police. But, when it happens, it can be startling and confusing. What happens next after a driver is pulled over can be a mystery for many people.

If you’re pulled over by the police, then you may expect the following to happen:

Probing questions and suspicion

For the police to pull over a vehicle, they must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is or was being committed. Reasonable suspicion is typically based on common sense. For example, if a driver makes repeated brakes without a reason, then the police could suspect that the driver is under the influence of something.

Following reasonable suspicion is “probable cause.” Probable cause is evidence that can lead to an arrest or search. An open bottle of alcohol in a car, for example, could be enough probable cause to charge someone with drunk driving. However, if there is no probable cause, then people have a constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure

During a traffic stop, the police may ask drivers several questions. These questions are used to gather evidence from a driver who may willingly admit to a crime. Drivers can plead the Fifth and assert their right to remain silent if they wish to refrain from answering questions or making self-incriminating comments. 

Anything can happen to drivers during traffic stops. Drivers who learn about their legal rights may find out that their rights were violated during a traffic stop. By reaching out for help, drivers may be able to create a legal defense against criminal charges.