Did you know that when you get pulled over in the state of Georgia that there is an unspoken expectation of how you handle being pulled over by a police officer? Some of it is general common sense, however, there are some general rules that you may not think about that could save you a lot of trouble.
Why Am I Getting Pulled Over?
Anytime a police officer pulls you over, they have a reason. They aren’t just pulling you over because you are driving a white car after spring.
The most common reasons for being pulled over by an officer is for a traffic violation, fitting the description of a wanted person from a crime that was recently committed, the officer may feel you are at risk or in need of assistance, and the possibility that you may have witnessed a crime.
There is a good chance that getting pulled over has got your emotions in an uproar. You may not feel like you did anything wrong, but the quickest way to get it over with is to cooperate with the officer pulling you over.
The best thing you can do is cooperate but if you find out that you are being charged with a DUI, the first thing you need to do is call an Athens DUI attorney as soon as possible.
What to Do When You See the Lights Flashing
From the moment the police officer decides that they are going to pull you over, they are watching your movements. They are looking to see if you are suspiciously trying to hide something that is illegal or if your demeanor changes that could alert them of possible impairment.
The first thing you need to understand when you are being pulled over is that there is a “correct” way to pull over. You can’t just come to a screeching halt in the middle of traffic and you can’t floor the accelerator and try to get away. This will be a sure way of finding yourself in handcuffs.
You need to slowly ease your car, with the turn signal on, to the side of the road. Pull off far enough to the side so that you are out of the way of traffic. If it is a busy street, find a parking lot. If it is at night, there is a general understanding that you are allowed to find someplace that is well lit.
Make sure you have gathered all the necessary information. This includes your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. Turn your radio down and your vehicle off. Turning off the ignition is more for the officer to feel more secure with the stop.
Make sure that you and your passengers stay silent with your hands visible at all times. You should not speak unless asked a question. Even then, make sure you are not saying anything that could cause you to incriminate yourself.
It is important to remember not to touch the officer or try to delay the progress of the traffic stop in any way. This is considered obstruction and that is a misdemeanor offense.
Avoiding Self Incrimination
When the officer approaches your vehicle and asks for your license, registration, and proof of insurance, they are going to try to engage you with conversation as well. This is a tactic to see how well you multitask and this is how they confirm their suspicion that you might be under the influence.
If the officer asks you where you have been or where you are headed, you don’t have to answer them. You don’t have to be rude about it either, but simply saying that you do not wish to answer the question should suffice.
The key to these questions is not to lie. If you lie and they find out that you have lied, this is even more incriminating and can make penalties even worse.
If the officer suspects that you have been drinking, there is a chance that they will be blunt and ask that question. You have three options at this point. You can lie, tell the truth (this would be an admission of guilt), or choose to plead the fifth. Don’t lie and don’t incriminate yourself. This makes it harder for a lawyer trying to represent you.
At this point, you will get to go through the field sobriety test or a breathalyzer. They aren’t going to administer this if you haven’t confirmed their suspicions in one way or another. Refusing to take this will only give you automatic license suspension for up to 12 months.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, you are entitled to representation. Call an experienced DUI attorney for a consultation regarding your case today.