What to do if you are stopped by a police officer in the USA
To make the meeting with the American policeman as painless as possible for you, you must follow some rules. When a police officer stops a car, the driver can get nervous. However, officers actually have more reasons to be nervous, because they never know what to expect from the person behind the wheel. Generally, the more effort you put into making the officer feel safe, the safer you will be. Writes about it WikiHow.
1 Method: What to do if you are stopped
- Know your rights. A police officer can stop you for any traffic violation, it doesn't matter - major or minor. He may even follow you to await a violation on your part. Never fight with a police officer or behave in a threatening or hostile manner. In this case, the officer can arrest you or take another measure of restraint.
- A police officer has no right to stop you because of your age, race, or the type of car you drive. If you think that you were stopped improperly, record the conversation with the officer, if possible. Just leave the phone on the panel and turn on the recording.
- Look for a convenient place to exit from the road. Slow down, turn on the turn signal and move to the right. This will be a signal to the officer of your intentions. Try to find a parking space or a pocket by the road. Many officers will be grateful for the deliberate congress. Remove the key from the ignition and place it on the panel.
- If it is dark outside and you are alone in the car, you have the right to drive to a well-lit place - for example, to refuel. If you plan to go to a safe place, dial 911 and let us know that you have been asked to stop, but you are looking for a well-lit place to stop. The 911 operator will pass this information to the police officer.
- Relax. Despite the fact that the police stop is not a pleasant experience, everything will be fine with you, even if you are given a fine. Take a deep breath and remember that police officers are unthankable and kindly. Their job is to protect you.
- Lower the driver's window and all tinted windows. If it is dark, turn on the lights in the cabin. Do everything slow. The officer will watch you closely to make sure that you are not pulling out a weapon and are not hiding anything. Do not reach for the glove box or under the seat. When the officer approaches the car, put your hands on the steering wheel so that he can see them.
- Do not speak first. Approaching you, the officer will ask for a driver's license and registration. He is not obliged to tell you the reason for the stop until you give him the documents. When making movements with your hands, tell the officer that you are pulling out your ID and registration. Do everything slowly and clearly. If you are staying in a dark place, the officer will shine a flashlight into your hands. After bringing the documents, put your hands back on the steering wheel. While the officer is checking your ID and car status on the radio, keep your hands on the wheel.
- Keep your ID and registration in an envelope, preferably yellow or another bright color, and not in a bag. The envelope should be small - so that it does not fit the gun. If you keep documents in the glove box or under the seat (which is not recommended), ask the officer for permission to get his envelope out of there.
- If you do not have a certificate or registration, the officer may arrest you for driving without them or write you a fine. If you have a good reason for the lack of documents, the officer may allow you to show another photo ID. According to him, he will be able to search you in the database. However, this depends on the policeman, so try not to drive without a driver's license and registration.
- Answer shortly. Be polite all the time and contact the officer "officer". You can ask what his or her name is. Open questions can create problems for you - so an officer may try to extract confessions from you, which will then be used against you in court. All your answers will be entered by him or her in the protocol. In addition, more and more police officers use personal cameras, so your conversation can even be recorded. Here are some examples of how to answer questions:
- "Do you know why you were stopped?" - "Not".
- "Do you know what speed you were driving?" - "Yes". Answering “No” to this question may lead the officer to believe that you have not looked at the speed limit signs and speedometer. If you really don't know, you can say, "I think about speed X".
- If an officer asks, "Did you have a good reason to rush?", Answer "No." If you say yes, then even if you did not exceed the speed limit, the officer will consider that you did, and, most likely, will write you a fine.
- If he asks “Did you drink?” And you did not drink, answer “no” if you were stopped for chaotic driving. If you are taking a pill or have a disease that may affect your driving style, say so.
- If an officer sees or even perceives the smell of an open can or a bottle of alcohol, you may be asked to take an alcohol intoxication test. A police officer cannot force you to breathe into the phone without first obtaining a search warrant. But if you refuse to pass this test, it will give the emu a reason for the immediate arrest and termination of the driver’s license. If this happens, you can be forced to undergo an alcohol test in prison, if the officer manages to get a warrant. And it will be easy to get it, provided that you have violated the rules of the road.
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- Follow all the orders of the officer. In the case of non-execution of orders, your behavior will be evaluated as a riot or resistance. This may convince the officer of the need to use force against you to force him to carry out his orders. Relieve yourself from the hassle and follow all the orders received from the officers.
- If the officer sees any prohibited items in sight, he can open the door and withdraw them.
- In the US, moving vehicles are subject to search after stopping by law enforcement officers with good reason. Good reasons for the search are suspicious actions of the driver and passengers, as well as objects or comments that the officer feels scent, sees or hears - for example, violation of safety rules, open containers, possible presence of weapons and so on.
- If an officer asks if he can search your car, you have the right to say no. If you refuse a search, this is not a valid reason. However, the courts, as a rule, reckon with the opinion of the police regarding the existence of a valid reason. Even if the reason proposed by the officer is wrong, such a search would still be considered legitimate.
- Do not get involved in a meaningless conversation with a policeman. The officer knows why he stopped you, and everything you say can be used against you. You have the right to remain silent and not create grounds for suspicion against you. Do not say anything other than the answers to the officer’s questions. Also, do not brag about acquaintance with a colleague officer - he may assume that you know him or her because of previous violations or arrests.
- Do not get out of the car - except at the request of the police. Such a movement is almost always perceived as a threat, moreover, it is safer for you to be inside, and not on the highway, on which cars move. Do not unfasten the seat belt. Despite the fact that you are standing, the car is still on a street or a road with traffic, and someone can enter your car. In addition, while you are wearing a seat belt, the officer will not suspect you of wanting to escape. If you unbuckle him before the policeman saw you, he can fine you for the unfastened belt, even if you were fastened - he did not see it.
- You should know the legal grounds for searching your car. In the United States, moving vehicles are subject to search after being stopped by law enforcement officers if there is good reason. If an officer sees illegal objects in sight, he or she can search the part of the car in which they are located and, if necessary, arrest you. If an officer asks if he can search your car, you don't have to agree. If you refuse to search, remember - the officer can find a good reason for him.
- Good reasons for the search are suspicious actions of the driver and passengers, as well as objects or comments that the officer feels scent, sees or hears - for example, violation of safety rules, open containers or objects that may be weapons. Note that refusal to search a car is not a valid reason. If the officer doesn’t offer anything else, you will be free as soon as he issues a fine or warns you.
- Keep in mind that the officer does not need to ask your permission to have your car examined from the outside by dogs from a dog unit (for drugs, people, explosives, etc.).
- Be polite and do not argue if they charge you a fine. You will have time in the transport court for this if you want to challenge the decision of the officer. Instead, thank the cop and control your emotions. If you think that you were stopped illegally or that a police officer did something illegal, do not tell him about it during the stop. Better remember the name of the officer for the future.
- If the stop is delayed, you can ask the officer if you can go.
- If you believe that an officer has committed anything illegal, you can contact a lawyer and check if there is a reason to file an application to the county or state in which this police officer works. For example, if you think an officer stopped you because of your race, consult a lawyer and consider an opportunity to apply.
2 Method: What to do if you are arrested
- Know the grounds for the arrest. A police officer can arrest a person for a traffic violation if he personally saw the person commit a crime or the officer has a good reason for the arrest. If an officer has an educated guess based on facts and circumstances that a person has committed or is about to commit a crime, the officer has the right to arrest that person.
- For example, if you drive a vehicle erratically and violate the rules of the road, a police officer may assign you a test on an alcohol meter. If the test determines that you took alcohol, the officer may arrest you. Or if the officer sees drugs in your car, he will have a good reason for your arrest.
- Check if you are being arrested. Ask if you can go. If they say no, ask why they arrest you. After that, you better stop talking.
- Know what the police have the right to do during and after the arrest. If you are detained, the police can do the following simply because you are detained:
- Search you and your clothes.
- Search your belongings.
- Search your car if you were in it when you were stopped.
- Ask you to take a test - for example, intoxicated.
- Ask you questions. Please note - you do not have to answer, and you have the right to remain silent.
- If this happens to you, keep calm and cooperate with the police as much as possible.
- Understand your rights. The police are obliged to read you the so-called “Miranda rights” before interrogating you after your arrest. They make you aware that you have the right to remain silent when they interrogate you, and everything you say can and will be used against you. The police have no right to threaten you or force you to talk to them or make a statement for them in other ways. If this happens to you, you should immediately tell your lawyer.
- If the police start asking you a lot of questions and you have reason to believe that you will be arrested (because you better know whether they are or not), then you should stop talking. If you are going to be arrested - his mouth on the lock. Anything you say before your arrest can also be used against you.
- If the police begin questioning without reading you the "rights of Miranda," then what you say cannot be used against you in court. Please note - the police will ask you all the time if you want to talk to them, even after reading your rights. They have the right cunning to persuade you to dialogue, and are not obliged to be honest with you even after reading you the "rights of Miranda."
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