No driver wants to get pulled over. They worry about being late, getting a ticket or getting arrested, making people feel defensive and anxious when the officer approaches their car.
Under these circumstances, people make mistakes. And mistakes during a traffic stop in North Carolina can result in arrests and criminal charges. Avoiding these can go a long way in protecting your future and your freedom.
- Being combative or aggressive with the officer: Tensions can be running high during a traffic stop. However, disrespecting a police officer or challenging them will rarely end well for a motorist. Instead, be polite and respectful. Answer questions truthfully, and if you wish to remain silent, calmly state that to the officer.
- Allowing police to search your vehicle without a warrant: Police can ask you to take a look inside your car, but you do not have to consent to a warrantless search. Even if you think you have nothing to hide, agreeing to a search can make it easier for police to arrest you. If you decline a search without a warrant but police conduct one anyone, it is a violation of your rights.
- Making incriminating statements: Lying or misrepresenting yourself during a traffic stop can be a costly misstep. So rather than lie or incriminate yourself, make truthful statements. And know that you have the right not to answer questions. While you may need to identify yourself to the police, you can respectfully exercise your right to remain silent.
- Committing a crime: Getting stopped by the police can be frightening, particularly if you are young or think you may be in serious trouble. However, adding reasons to charge you by evading arrest, assaulting an officer or otherwise interfering only makes matters worse. Try to stay calm and remember that an arrest is not a conviction; you have the right to speak with an attorney and defend yourself.
If you get pulled over by police – whether you think you’ve done anything wrong or not – it is crucial to try to stay calm and know your rights during a traffic stop. And as soon as you can do so, call an attorney. At that point, you can address any violations of your rights that may have occurred and build a defense to avoid costly penalties.