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If you’re pulled over, it’s a good idea to know your legal rights. Many people don’t know about their legal rights when pulled over by the police. They may find themselves feeling anxious and unsure of what to expect from officers pulling them over as well as what their protections are in those situations.
Tyler Bailey is the founder of Bailey Law Firm, which is based in Columbia, South Carolina. He can assist with matters ranging from personal injury and workers' compensation to criminal defense, family law, and civil law. He was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 trial lawyers by National Trial Lawyers Monthly.
To learn more, contact the attorney directly by calling 888-981-0034 or by submitting a contact form on this page.
When you are pulled over by law enforcement, your first priority should be to listen to law enforcement. Keep your hands visible, do not provide false information, and remain polite and cooperative regardless of the officer’s attitude.
Any interaction with law enforcement can feel like a high-stakes, high-tension situation, but in most cases, law enforcement is simply carrying out the basic duties of their job. Obviously the person pulled over is not responsible for a law enforcement officer’s behavior in any situation, regardless of their own behavior, but remaining polite and cooperative never hurts. Answer their questions honestly and try to exercise patience, even if you are unsure why you were pulled over or what the purpose of their questions might be.
Law enforcement officers are trained professionals and there might be more involved than what you can see from the dashboard of your car. Like most people, law enforcement officers are just doing their jobs, and have no interest in taking up more of both of your time than is necessary.
If a law enforcement officer asks to search your vehicle, ask first if they have a warrant before allowing them to do so. If they do not have a warrant, it might be wise to let them know you are uncomfortable with the idea of letting them search your car without a warrant, but would be happy to comply if/when they obtain one. It’s also important to avoid agreeing to or signing anything without the advice of your lawyer.
Law enforcement will let you know what they need you to do when you are pulled over. Remain calm and avoid sounding or acting hostile as you follow their instructions, answer their questions honestly, and do what they ask you to. Then contact a lawyer right away if you have questions about why you were pulled over or the law enforcement officer’s conduct in dealing with you.
If you feel that your rights may have been violated during your interaction with law enforcement, the best thing to do is go home and immediately write down everything you remember including officers’ names, badges, car numbers, and details regarding the scene. If there were any witnesses present, it’s not a bad idea to get their contact information as well. This is all information that could help a lawyer protect your interests in the case that legal action is necessary.
To learn more, contact Tyler Bailey directly by calling 888-981-0034 or by submitting a contact form on this page.
It’s time for another Quick Question from AskTheLawyers.com. Do you know your rights when you’re pulled over by the police? We ask South Carolina criminal defense attorney Tyler Bailey. Here's his answer.
If you get pulled over, the first thing to do is listen to law enforcement. Follow their instructions. If they ask to search your vehicle, I would recommend that you do not allow them to search your vehicle unless they have a warrant. And as you follow the instructions of the officer, you should immediately contact a lawyer.
Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
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