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Know your rights during a traffic stop

By Michael Brooks-Jimenez

Knowing your rights as a motorist in the event you’re pulled over by a police officer, as well as the manner in which you should present yourself to the officer is now more important than ever. Even the police themselves now say there is no such thing as a “routine” traffic stop, meaning it is all the more important you’re aware of what they can and cannot do without consent.

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Know Your Rights During a Traffic Stop

Knowing your rights during a traffic stop is important and can keep you out of trouble. Here are 6 rights you should be aware of in case you get pulled over by police:

1. Do not consent to a search.

An officer of the law cannot search your car without a permit, unless you give them permission. If you do grant them permission, you have also now handed over all control of the situation over the officer. Do not step out of the vehicle unless you are asked to do so, at which point you should roll up any windows you might have down, step out of the vehicle, then close the door behind you. Lock the car and put your keys in your pocket.

2. You have the right to remain silent.

In the event of an Oklahoma traffic stop, you are required by law to present a driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance if requested by the officer conducting the stop. You do not have to answer questions about your work, where you are going or the purpose of your travel. If the officer continues questioning you about anything besides what has been previously indicated here, say you want to speak to your attorney. The less you say the better.

3. You have the right to film the traffic stop.

Keep your hands where they are easily seen, and, without making sudden movements, set your phone to record. You have the right to film the entire interaction, and are often encouraged to by police departments across the nation. 

"We know now if someone is filming us, and they're in a place where they have a legal right to be, we can't do anything about that." said Captain Nelson of the Oklahoma City Police Department

 

4. You have the right to speak to a supervisor.

You have the right to ask to speak to a supervisor if you believe you're being treated unfairly. Everyone has a superior, someone they have to answer to. Contact an Oklahoma City lawyer to discuss the issues you had with the officer conducting the stop as it might be best to have an attorney present when your speak to a superior officer.

5. Do not consent to a breathalyzer test.

Do not, under any circumstance, consent to a breathalyzer test. Let the officer know your desire to speak to a DUI attorney. Suspicion of driving while intoxicated brings with it a myriad of problems. Get a lawyer involved.

6. You have the right to ask "Am I being detained?" and "Am I free to go?"

You are completely within your rights to ask the Oklahoma City police if you are being detained. If you are told no, ask if you are free to go. If you are, then leave immediately. There is no reason to stay and run the risk of any additional questioning.

Para leer esta nota en Español, haga clic aquí.