What Should I Do During When I Have Been Pulled Over In Missouri/Kansas?
First Lets Go Over the Basics:
I'm sure we have all heard these tips a hundred times or so but they are worth repeating and reviewing.
Once you see an officer behind you with lights on signaling you to pull over when you are driving a car:
- Proceed to stop your motor vehicle in the safest and closest location as fast as you are able to. Do not speed, do this as quickly as the law and posted speed limits allow.
- Once you are safely pulled over, you should turn off your vehicle.
- STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE. Do not exit the vehicle, unless the officer prompts you to do so.
- Turn on the internal light (if it is in the evening or nighttime).
- Open your window to roughly the halfway mark.
- Place both of your hands on the steering wheel.
- Remain calm, and wait for the officer to exit their patrol car, and approach your vehicle.
- The officer will then ask for your driver's license, vehicle registration papers, and proof of insurance. Upon this request, hand over all three pieces of documentation requested. *(TIP: Have all of these documents in easily accessible locations that you know where they are at all times. Therefore you don't have to scramble around to find them.)*
- In the event the officer requests to search or look inside your vehicle, you are legally allowed to refuse to consent to the search.
- HOWEVER; if an officer is of the belief that your vehicle contains evidence, and they have probable cause to conduct a search, they are within their rights to search your car without your consent.
- The driver and passenger alike have the right to remain silent.
- If you are the passenger, you are within your rights to ask if you are free to leave.
- If you, as the passenger, choose to ask this question, and the officer responds by saying "yes", you have the option to sit silently for the remainder of the traffic stop or to calmly leave the vehicle and exit the area.
Always be polite when talking to the officer. It is in your best interest to be courteous during the traffic stop. There is no reason for you to give the officer a chance to add any charges to the citation you may or may not be receiving.
Now We Will Move Onto Some Of The Less Obvious Tips When Getting Pulled Over By An Officer:
Do NOT volunteer any additional information to the officer conducting the traffic stop.
Yes, it is true that you are required by law to hand over to the officer conducting the traffic stop your driver's license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration paperwork.
That being said, that is all the information you are legally required to provide to the officer. In some cases, an officer could ask you certain questions that could set you up for a citation. Here are some commonly asked questions by officers that could lead to you incriminating yourself:
- “Do you know how fast you were going when I pulled you over?”
- “Are you aware of why I pulled you over?”
- “Did you see the person walking in the crosswalk you just drove through?”
It is imperative to protect yourself and your rights. You can do this by you keeping your answers short and sweet. This will help to not incriminate yourself by accidentally, or inadvertently admitting you were doing anything wrong. This is a Fifth Amendment right. You have the right to not incriminate yourself, so don't do it.
*Do not volunteer any additional information or explanation, even if you think it might help.*
Be EXTREMELY cautious when you are merging back into traffic after the officer has finished their traffic stop.
We suggest taking your time when putting your documents back in order and composing yourself before starting your vehicle up and driving off. Once you feel calm, collected, and composed, and your documents are stored back where they belong; then start your car, put your signal on, and cautiously merge back onto the road and into traffic in a safe manner.
Take action on your citation:
In the event, your traffic stop resulted in being issued a citation by the officer, DO NOT forget to take the appropriate and necessary actions on the citation. On the ticket, you were given you will see a deadline with instructions. Complete the instructions on the ticket by the deadline. If you forget to take action this could result in higher fines and more penalties, just due to simple forgetfulness.
You have several options after getting a citation. These options depend on what type of citation it is and the details of the citation. Ideally, you were not arrested but if you were, you will more than likely need to seek legal representation. If it was a speeding ticket you were issued or a traffic ticket of any kind you can admit guilt and pay the fine, or fight the ticket in court. In the event you decide to fight the ticket, again it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney to discuss your case.
At the Joshua Wilson Law Firm, our attorneys are experienced in all sorts of variations of citations that are products of traffic stops, or traffic stop law in general.
Whether it be a speeding ticket you feel was wrongfully issued, an improper search being conducted resulting in your rights being violated, or if you were issued a DUI/DWI upon being stopped; our attorneys have years of experience in the courtroom, with cases like these, and success to match.
We would be more than happy to help you with your case today and help you resolve any issue that resulted after being involved in a traffic stop. Give us a call at our office and one of our staff members will schedule a consultation with one of our passionate, educated, and experienced attorneys, and our firm can get started on your case today.