What can police officers legally do after pulling you over?
Pulled Over by Police? What can they do?
When you get pulled over by the police, a million thoughts run through your head. But in the moment, you need to react properly. The police are allowed to conduct certain activities after a legal stop, and resisting at the time creates more problems than the stop needs to involve. Understanding what the police are allowed to do can help you protect yourself.
Checking the Driver
When the police make a lawful stop, they will usually ask for your license, proof of insurance, and registration. They are entitled to do so, to confirm you were driving legally and under an active license. Beyond this, they have the ability to determine whether they have cause for further investigation, such as a breath test or a search of your vehicle. The less you do to give them reason to suspect you of anything inappropriate, the better your likelihood of avoiding additional difficulties.
Searching the Vehicle
In addition to checking on you, the police have the right to search your vehicle if they have probable cause. They may ask to search anyway, but you should usually not go along with the request. Police need a strong reason to suspect criminal activity before the search becomes lawful; there is no good reason to give up your constitutional rights, and if you consent, you may give up the right to challenge the use as evidence of anything the police find.
The Stop Must Be Lawful
Before the police can search you or the vehicle, the stop must be lawful. For a regular traffic stop, there may be a light out or other vehicle maintenance problem that justifies the stop, or erratic driving or traffic violations. If none of these occurred, you can challenge the stop itself later.
If you have been stopped and had yourself or your vehicle searched, you need strong legal representation to protect your rights. Eisenberg Law Offices will listen to you and help you with your legal defense.