What Should I Do if I’m Stopped by the Police in California?

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Being pulled over by the police in California can be a frightening experience, even if you haven’t done anything wrong. While it’s always best to remain calm and be polite with the officer during a traffic stop, you should also know your rights. Understanding your rights, and the best way to behave during a traffic stop, can help you avoid escalating the situation and causing unnecessary problems.

Listed below are some of the things you should remember if you are pulled over by the police in California:

  • Pull over to a safe place on the side of the road.Use your blinker when pulling over and put your hazard lights on. As the officer approaches, keep your hands on the steering wheel.
  • Be polite. Arguing or becoming angry with an officer is a great way to increase your chances of getting a ticket or being arrested. Instead, stay calm when the officer comes to your window. If they ask for your license and registration, and you have to open the glove compartment or search somewhere in the car for these documents, tell the officer what you are doing so that they don’t think you are being threatening.
  • Do not agree to a search. The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution grants privacy to you when you are inside your vehicle. If the officer asks if he or she can search your car, it is best to politely respond, “No, I do not consent to a search.”
  • Keep your answers short. The Fifth Amendment grants you the right to remain silent so that you do not incriminate yourself. Although you must provide the officer with your license, registration and proof of insurance, if you feel the officer’s questions could be used to incriminate you, politely decline to answer or simply keep your answers brief. Do not volunteer any extra information.
  • Be honest.Although it is perfectly legal for officers to lie and try to intimidate you, you should be honest when speaking to the police. If you don’t feel comfortable answering their questions, exercise your right to remain silent.
  • Accept the ticket. Signing a ticket given to you by an officer is not an admission of guilt. If you don’t agree with the reason for the ticket, you will have the chance to fight it later in court. Don’t try to “fight” the ticket on the side of the road.

Contact the Giuliano Law Firm

If you have been accused of a crime in California, having an experienced Monterey criminal defense lawyer on your side can make the difference between winning and losing your case. At Giuliano Law Firm, we have over 20 years of experience fighting for the rights of our clients in Monterey, Hollister and across California. We understand how to navigate the complexities of the legal system in California and will do everything in our power to help you win your case. Give us a call today at (831) 372-4003 or contact us online.

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