Getting pulled over is a stressful event for you and your passengers. Your goal when you are stopped by police should be to get through the stop uninjured and not under arrest. Following a few simple rules can help you achieve these goals. Knowing what to do if a police car pulls you over in Arizona is a critically important factor in not allowing the encounter to escalate.
If an officer writes you a ticket or if you get arrested, do not argue or resist—doing so risks complicating an already difficult situation. Instead, accept the consequences quietly and ask for a criminal attorney as soon as possible. An experienced traffic lawyer could effectively present your side of the situation.
Make Safety Your Priority
If a police car sounds its siren or turns on its flashing lights, you must pull over. Speeding up and trying to evade the officers creates a dangerous situation for you, the officers, and anyone else on the road. Even if you get away at first, the police are likely to find you later.
The proper and safest response is to slow down and use your blinker to indicate you intend to pull over. Look for a safe place where you will not be obstructing traffic. If it is dark out, try to find a place that is well lit.
Once you have pulled over, turn off the engine and stay in the vehicle with your seatbelt fastened. If it is dark, activate your hazard blinkers and turn on the interior light so the officer can see inside the vehicle. Keep your hands calm and visible on the steering wheel. Do not reach for your identification until the officer asks for it. If there is a gun in the vehicle, inform the officer immediately and describe where the gun is located. Be respectful and calm and wait for the officer’s instructions.
Know Your Obligations When the Police Stop You
Police do not have unlimited powers when they make a traffic stop, but they can ask certain things of you. For example, drivers must provide their driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information if the officer requests it.
Drivers also have given their implied consent to tests for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their body. A driver can refuse a test but their driver’s license will be suspended immediately.
An officer can insist that the driver and passengers exit the vehicle. If the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle, do so slowly. Do not reach for anything without asking the officer if you can do so first.
Your Rights During a Traffic Stop
You can politely and firmly assert your rights without being uncooperative or confrontational. The officer should identify themself if you ask and allow you to inspect their credentials. If they do not reveal why they stopped your vehicle, you are entitled to ask, and they must answer. If the stop occurs on a public road, you may film it with your phone or dashboard camera.
Officers must have probable cause to search you or your vehicle without your permission. If they ask for permission to search, it means they do not believe they can prove probable cause. When this happens, you can refuse permission.
You also do not have to answer questions about where you have been, whether you have been drinking, or why you are at the location. You can politely refuse to answer questions and ask to speak with a lawyer. This is the best tactic if the officers might find or learn something that could have criminal consequences for you.
Seek Legal Advice for Any Ticket or Arrest After You Are Pulled Over in Arizona
Your response when the police pull you over could determine whether the stop has a positive or negative outcome. If a police officer feels threatened or disrespected, you are more likely to face criminal consequences.
At the same time, police cannot use their position of authority to abuse you. If an officer oversteps, contact a lawyer for help defending your rights.
You should also speak with an attorney from Grand Canyon Law Group if a traffic stop results in a ticket or an arrest on a criminal charge. We have the knowledge and skills to save your way of life, whatever the allegations. Call today.