Knowing your rights when stopped by police is key. Most people are scared when stopped by police, even when they did nothing wrong. You do not want your desire to be cooperative and show you are a good person result in you throwing away your rights. I see it happen all the time.
A large part of criminal defense is examining the officer’s investigation. If you are already charged and are in court, please speak to your attorney about the officer’s examination. If you are currently or potentially facing criminal charges, call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz for a consultation at (858) 751-4384.
1. Be ready
Show cooperation when you’re stopped.
We might as well start from the beginning. As soon as you see the police cruiser in your mirror, put your turn signal on and quickly and safely come to a stop on the shoulder. Try to pull as far off the road as possible, leaving plenty of safe space for the officer to walk. Once your car is in park, roll down your window. Then, turn off your radio, and turn on your car’s dome light if it’s dark out. If you can signal to the officer that you’re eager to cooperate before they even get out of the car, it might work in your favor if they’re feeling particularly charitable. Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz now to get a consultation on your case at (858) 751-4384.
2. Probable cause
So the officer is out of their car and walking up to your window. They should tell you why you’ve been pulled over right away. You have a right to know why you were stopped, and officers need a reason to stop you. This is known as probable cause, and it can be for anything, including a license plate light being out or speeding. If the officer fails to tell you why they pulled you over, don’t be afraid to ask; it’s your right to know. Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz now to get a consultation on your case at (858) 751-4384.
3. You don’t have to say much
“You have the right to remain silent” might be the first thing you hear if you get arrested, but that right doesn’t just kick in should you ever get a pair of cuffs slapped on you. If you’re in a routine traffic stop, you need to provide your license, registration, proof of insurance, and, in some states, answer some basic identifying questions if asked. If the officer asks for these documents, ask permission to reach for them and state where they are at. This will help put the officer at ease with what you plan to do with your hands. Other than that, you can be as quiet as you want to be. Remember: Staying silent means you can’t incriminate yourself. Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz now to get a consultation on your case at (858) 751-4384.
4. Film away
Let’s be honest: Relations between the police and certain communities aren’t great right now. In an effort to show some transparency, law enforcement agencies across the country are adopting body cameras, so there’s a record of virtually every interaction between police and citizens. But if you want to take matters into your own hands, it’s perfectly legal to film or record a traffic stop, so you have a record of the interaction, especially if you think you might need to dispute something later. Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz now to get a consultation on your case at (858) 751-4384.
5. An attitude isn’t illegal
At the end of the day, police officers are doing a job and want their days to go as smoothly as possible. But you don’t have to pretend to be their friend or do anything outside of your rights. Sometimes officers will even try to bargain with you, saying cooperating with them will “make things easier.” All this ever does is make things easier for them. You shouldn’t do this. Really, you don’t even have to be friendly at all.
There’s no law governing etiquette for dealing with an officer, and you can’t be arrested for having a bad attitude. But being difficult won’t do you any favors either. In fact, it’s probably the easiest way to make a tense situation go bad. If you’re being mistreated, fighting fire with fire isn’t going to help you at a traffic stop. As retired NYPD detective Harry Houck tells CNN: “Any level-headed person who gets pulled over does what a police officer tells you, and there won’t be any problems. Whether the cop is wrong, you can hash it out in courts after it’s over.” Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz now to get a consultation on your case at (858) 751-4384.
6. You don’t have to leave your car
More often than not, when a police officer asks you to step out of the car, it’s for their own safety. They either want to make sure you don’t have a concealed weapon on you or issue a field sobriety test. You can refuse to do this; it’s well within your rights. But no matter how respectfully you decline, it might escalate the situation. Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz now to get a consultation on your case at (858) 751-4384.
7. Know where you stand
Most officers want traffic stops to be as quick as possible. But if you’re in a situation where you’ve had your documents returned but you’re still being questioned by the officer, you’re well within your rights to say, “I need to be going. Am I free to go?” If the answer isn’t a clear “yes,” you can ask, “Am I being detained?” If you’re not allowed to leave, it’s time to stop talking and think about getting a lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz now to get a consultation on your case at (858) 751-4384.
8. Don’t allow a search for any reason
Sometimes, an officer will nonchalantly ask, “Mind if I take a look in your car?” Innocent or not, do not ever consent to this; no good ever comes of it. The only way an officer can search your car is if you consent, if you have something illegal in plain view, if they’ve already arrested you, if they have probable cause that a crime has immediately been committed, or if there’s danger that evidence from a crime could be immediately destroyed. Other than that, they need a warrant. End of story. Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz now to get a consultation on your case at (858) 751-4384.
10. Warrants and checkpoints are (mostly) non-negotiable
If you’re driving and come to a police checkpoint, you need to stop and interact with the officers. There really isn’t a lot of wiggle room there. And in the event police
have a warrant to search your car, you must let them search. But there is a catch: If they’re looking for a specific object, they only can search areas where that object can fit. If police start searching outside the parameters of the warrant, they’re violating your rights. Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz now to get a consultation on your case at (858) 751-4384.
Here is some more information on San Diego DUI checkpoints:
The following factors help determine the constitutionality of a checkpoint:
- Decision making by supervisors: This is important to ensure that checkpoints aren’t set up in “arbitrary and capricious” locations. The court didn’t say so, but we’re guessing they wanted to avoid any accusations of racial profiling.
- Limits on discretion of field officers: The theme of distrust of the officer continues. Strict procedures and a random selection of drivers according to a preset pattern (every third driver, for example) are suggested to avoid abuse.
- Maintenance of safety conditions: We’re not sure how it applies to constitutionality, but the court wanted lots of bright lights and signs.
- Reasonable location: The location should be based on relevant factors, such as areas with high incidences of DUI or DUI accidents.
- Time and duration: There are no hard and fast rules, but the timing should be set to optimize the effectiveness of the checkpoint. In other words, put ’em up when the drunks are out.
- Indicia of official nature of roadblock: This is more babble about bright lights and warning signs. They do mention that the lights and signage should be visible for the sake of notification to the drivers. Drivers also can’t be pulled over for avoiding the checkpoint, unless they violate a law to do so.
- Length and nature of detention: The time of the stop should be minimized as to infringe on a person’s rights as little as possible. That means peek at the eyes, smell for booze, and look for cans. If there are no signs of intoxication, the driver should be let go. If they look or smell drunk, field sobriety tests are appropriate.
- Advance publicity: Ingersoll was in favor of advance publicity. It referred to the deterrent effect and stated that the notice minimizes intrusiveness to a person’s rights. In 1993, the court in People v. Banks stated that publicity was not a requirement, but it certainly helps.
These guidelines are not created equal. Some, like the random selection of cars, are more important than others, like advance publicity. As for the applicability to a specific checkpoint, we’d recommend discussing the matter with a local attorney.
You can find the original article here.
Hire a Proactive, affordable, and quality defense when you are facing San Diego DUI charges. Whether you have been charged of a San Diego DUI, Poway DUI, La Mesa DUI, Santee DUI, Mission Valley DUI, Clairemont DUI, Point Loma DUI, La Jolla DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Mira Mesa DUI, Pacific Beach DUI, Del Mar DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Encinitas DUI, Oceanside DUI, Escondido DUI, Vista DUI, San Marcos DUI, Carlsbad DUI, El Cajon DUI it is vital you need to hire an attorney who knows how to defend your rights and can determine if the government can prove their case. Contact the Law Office of Mark Deniz now for a free case evaluation at (858) 751-4384.