Every day, hundreds of people all over the country are pulled over by the police. The reasons vary from minor traffic offenses to more serious acts. Some will end up being charged. Residents of Louisiana should learn what to say and what to refrain from saying in order to prevent unnecessary arrests. Below are some basic rules where, if followed, may keep you from being a passenger in the back of a police cruiser.
What should you do if you are pulled over?
The first order of business is to find out why you are being pulled over? Even if you think you know, it’s a good idea to ask the officer so you can know what the suspicion or charge is.
Second, do not engage in conversation with the officer when they are fishing for information such as “Where are you headed tonight?” You do have a legal right to remain silent. Let them know that you do not care to discuss that or anything else with them.
If the officer is asking you questions, they may be looking for an opportunity to incriminate you. If they do not have what they need to make an arrest, you can simply ask if you are being detained. If the answer is “no,” you can ask if you can leave. If there is no chargeable offense or suspicion of a crime, they will most likely allow you to leave.
As someone who has been pulled over, you have a constitutional right that, when invoked, allows you to remain silent without criminal consequences. You can simply invoke your Fifth Amendment right to refrain from talking. Once you have done this, stop talking.
Know your rights
Knowing these rights can go a long way in protecting yourself and possibly keep you from being charged with a crime. On the other hand, if you end up being charged, you should seek the help of an attorney who handles criminal defense matters.