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Know Your Rights if You're Pulled Over

criminal lawyer in MineolaMany people experience anxiety when being pulled over. Often, suffering from anxiety can make it difficult to think clearly. However, it's important to remain calm during a traffic stop and remind yourself of your legal rights. If the traffic stop leads to the issuance of traffic tickets or an arrest contact an experienced criminal lawyer in Mineola as soon as possible.

You Have the Right to Pull Over Safely

Many people mistakenly assume that they must pull over as soon as they see flashing lights in their rear view mirrors. And indeed, when you pull over promptly, you're sending a message to the police officer that you're being cooperative. However, if it is not safe for you to pull over immediately, you should wait until you arrive at a safe area along the road. Indicate to the police officer that you intend to cooperate by putting on your turn signal and by driving no faster than the speed limit.

There Must be Probable Cause

Criminal law dictates that police officers cannot pull you over without having probable cause. They must cite a particular reason, such as having a broken taillight or the illegal use of excessive speed. It does not matter if the police officer decides to avoid giving you a ticket and let you off with a warning. They should also take notes about the traffic stop, which would indicate the reason for pulling you over.

There Are Restrictions on Car Searches

Even if a police officer does have probable cause to pull you over, he or she cannot automatically search your car. There are only a few circumstances under which a police officer has that right. He or she may have a search warrant that includes your vehicle, you might provide your consent for the search, or the officer might notice contraband in plain view. Probable cause might also stem from non-illegal issues, such as the combination of having noticeable injuries and damage to your car. Additionally, if a police officer has probable cause to arrest you, he or she has the right to search your car. Bear in mind that if the police officer does not have a warrant or probable cause, you have the right to refuse the search.