What Should I Do If I Am Pulled Over By a Police Officer in Illinois?
Getting pulled over when you are driving is never a good feeling. You may be worried about the ticket price of the traffic violation or be concerned about the other consequences that may follow. As of late, Americans have become increasingly concerned about their personal safety during interactions with law enforcement. With racial tensions at an all-time high and police-civilian interactions especially contentious, routine traffic stops can make many drivers more nervous than normal.
When being pulled over, it is important to remember that police officers are equally as cautious about potential dangers as the driver. Police officers risk their lives on a daily basis, and many have seen their friends and co-workers get severely or fatally injured while on the job. In order to put both the police officer and driver at ease, it is important that Illinois drivers adhere to the following guidelines.
How to Interact With an Officer
The way that you engage with a police officer as he or she approaches your vehicle can quickly determine how smoothly your interaction will proceed. Depending on your tone, attitude, and actions, your conversation with the police officer can end with a warning, ticket, or arrest. In order to avoid escalating your interaction with the officer, consider the following guidelines:
Think about your words. What you say and how you say it can set the tone for your interaction and even impact the violation or charge that you are given. Never argue with the police officer, and remember that everything you say can and will be used against you.
Relax your body language. If you come off as aggressive or resistant to the officer, he or she will quickly take a more aggressive approach with you. Always keep your hands where the police can see them, never run if you are asked to leave the vehicle, and do not resist arrest even if you are innocent.
Pay attention to details. Even with the anxiety that comes with traffic stops, do your best to note the details of your interaction. Pay attention to the officer’s words, memorize his or her badge and patrol numbers if possible, and write down everything that you remember as soon as possible. This information can be used in a future criminal defense case if necessary.
Ask for an attorney. If you are indeed arrested on the spot, do not speak until your attorney is present. Any information that you give the officer will be recorded, even minor details that you may not find relevant to your case. Denying your charges or trying to explain “the truth” behind the situation can strengthen the officer’s case against you.
What Are My Rights?
It is important to know your rights before being stopped so that you are prepared if you ever find yourself in this situation. If you are pulled over by law enforcement, you have the right to remain silent. You are not required to answer their questions, even if you feel the pressure to do so. This right to remain silent also includes any questioning that you may receive after being arrested. You also have the right to deny vehicle searches that are performed without a warrant. In other words, if you are pulled over and an officer demands to look in your trunk, you can tell them that they are unable to do so until they have a warrant in hand. The officer may still search, but any evidence found through the unlawful search will likely be deemed inadmissible in court.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Traffic Violations Attorney
If you believe that the officer who pulled you over has violated your rights, you are able to file an official complaint against the police officer. If your traffic stop escalates to a traffic violation or other criminal charges, it is important to seek assistance from a DuPage County criminal defense lawyer. The distinguished legal team at Davi Law Group firmly believes that police officers and civilians are owed the same level of respect, and we are prepared to defend your case against your criminal charges or the officer’s actions. Contact our firm today at 630-580-6373 to schedule your free initial consultation.