Getting pulled over by police can be a stressful and potentially traumatic experience. Many people become overwhelmed with emotions and act irrationally. This can result in you getting arrested, even if you did not violate the law. Do not let this happen to you. Below are some examples of what NOT to do when pulled over by a Los Angeles police officer.
Do Not Flee the Scene
You have probably seen it on television – a driver is pulled over and immediately hops out of the car and runs away from the officer. This is a major mistake. First and foremost, fleeing does not improve your chances of avoiding arrest. When police pull you over, they have your license plate number, which will inform them of where your vehicle is registered, your name, and other personal information. This means that even if you manage to evade arrest, police will just show up at your home. You should also keep in mind that evading police is a crime in and of itself (e.g., California Vehicle Code 2800.3 VC).
Do Not Be Disrespectful and Argumentative
As mentioned, when someone is pulled over, they are likely dealing with an array of emotions, including adrenaline and anxiety. This can cause some people to become defensive with the police officers. You may very well encounter an officer who will annoy you and ask you questions you may not be comfortable answering. It is important to remember that police officers are people too and they are doing their job. You also need to remember that you will get a lot further with respect than with combativeness. If you are polite and respectful to the officer, there is a good chance that he or she will reciprocate and be respectful in return. If you are disrespectful, they can do the same.
Do Not Suddenly Reach for Something in Your Glove Compartment
It is a bad idea to reach for something without a police officer’s express permission. It is important to ask before reaching for anything in your vehicle. This is because officers have no idea exactly what you are reaching for and may instinctively reach for their weapon thinking you could be going for a weapon. The best strategy is to say, “Officer, I need to get xyz out of my glove compartment. Is that ok?” or something similar. That way, the officer knows exactly what you are reaching for and they have notice. This simple request can immediately neutralize a potentially dangerous encounter.
Do Not Say Yes to a Search of Your Vehicle without Asking Why
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States prohibits unlawful searches and seizures. Generally, searches and seizures that are made without a warrant are unconstitutional. This means that if the officer randomly asks, “Do you mind if I search your vehicle?” it is perfectly legal to ask why. If they do not articulate a reasonable basis to initiate a search, you have the right to say no and ask them to obtain a warrant prior to searching your vehicle.
Please note, there are multiple exceptions when an officer can search your vehicle without a warrant. For example, if the police officer has placed you under arrest, a search of your vehicle, even without a warrant, is reasonable if it is conducted at the same time and place of the arrest. Also, if there are exigent circumstances like the smell of alcohol or other substances, or there is probable cause to suspect you may have a weapon in the vehicle, then a search without a warrant is allowed.
Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one was pulled over and arrested for a traffic offense or DUI, the Law Office of Peter Berlin can help. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options. Call us today: (310) 289-5418.