Ohio residents pulled over by the police likely feel some degree of nervousness regarding the encounter. The unfortunate truth is that not all police encounters are positive. But motorists who understand their rights during a traffic stop can alleviate the stress they feel while helping to ensure fair treatment.
Things to do
Criminal defense attorneys advise drivers to pull over at the first safe spot available to them as soon as they notice a police request for them to do so. Drivers should turn off their engine and lower the window enough to allow conversation with the officer. It is also a good idea to keep both hands in a visible and non-threatening position.
Drivers should provide officers with their license, registration, and insurance information upon request. Drivers have the right to remain silent and do not have to answer questions presented to them. Drivers need only to politely explain to officers they wish to exercise their right to remain silent.
Motorists also do not have to consent to a search of their vehicle. Once again, it is important to remain polite while informing an officer of non-consent to a vehicle search.
Things not to do
Drivers that disrespect police officers at a traffic stop act against their own best interests. The same is true for motorists who tell lies to law enforcement officers. Another common mistake made by motorists at a traffic stop is attempting to prove they possess greater intelligence than the officer executing the stop.
In the event of arrest
Drivers must provide officers with their correct names and other identifying information when requested to do so. No further information is necessary. Drivers should remember their right to remain silent is still applicable following an arrest. They should reiterate their desire to remain silent and tell officers they wish to speak with an attorney.
Drivers pulled over for a traffic stop should remember that they are not without rights. Individuals who suffer rights violations or who feel an officer took unfair action against them at a traffic stop may benefit from speaking with an attorney.