Anne Arundel Traffic Stops
If you hear sirens or see patrol lights in your rearview mirror, you should immediately pull over. It is possible that you are not being stopped but it is required by law that you pull aside for law enforcement vehicles with flashing lights and blaring sirens. If a police vehicle is behind you and remains behind you, you might be facing a traffic stop. It is important to know how to behave during a traffic stop to ensure your safety and that of the officer.
While you must stop for law enforcement, you have certain rights during a traffic stop, and it is important to know them. If you have any questions regarding how to act during Anne Arundel traffic stops, contact a local traffic attorney to learn more.
The Traffic Stop Process in Anne Arundel County
For any basic traffic stop initiated by an officer in Anne Arundel, an officer will pull the driver over to the side of the road and ask for their license and vehicle registration to verify that the individual is licensed to drive and is legally driving that vehicle. The officer will investigate the nature of the stop, whether it is a minor vehicle equipment malfunction, like the tail light being out, the driver was observed using a cellphone or committing a traffic infraction, or there is suspicion of a DUI. The driver may be asked questions or asked to submit to roadside tests, if necessary, and the officer will afterwards complete the appropriate paperwork to document the incident and investigation.
Regardless of the time of day or night, drivers should pull over at the soonest available, safe place that does not obstruct traffic or pose a hazard to the driver or police officer. A driver can let an officer know they are looking for a safe place to pull over by slowing down and putting on their turn signal or hazard lights.
When drivers give officers their proof of insurance, driver’s license, or vehicle registration, the officer will return to their own vehicle to process the driver’s information, which only takes a few minutes.
What to Do Once Pulled Over in Anne Arundel
Once a driver has pulled over, they should ensure that their vehicle is in “park”, remain seated with their hands as visible as possible, and roll down their window as the officer approaches the vehicle. Drivers should avoid doing or saying anything that seems abrupt or aggressive. It is wise to be polite and respectful.
If the driver’s registration is not readily accessible before the officer arrives at the vehicle, they should wait for the officer to request it and ask permission to retrieve it from the glovebox. This can help ensure that the officer feels safe during the stop and there is no misunderstanding about a driver’s intent.
Drivers should only exit their vehicle if requested by the officer. There are often no specific questions or statements that drivers should feel a need to address with a police officer who has pulled their vehicle over.
Questioning During Traffic Stops in Anne Arundel County
Oftentimes, officers will ask for the driver’s license, vehicle registration, and perhaps proof of insurance. They might also ask the driver if they know why they are being stopped plus questions relevant to the nature of the traffic encounter. An officer’s questions differ based on the nature of the traffic stop itself.
It is imperative to remember that drivers are not obligated to answer when questioned about the location of their destination or departure, or essentially anything beyond questions that are used to ascertain their identity. A driver may use their fifth amendment right to remain silent when being questioned by an officer, and anything they say can be used as evidence against them in court if charges are issued or an arrest is made. Regardless of the inquiries or the answers, drivers should always be polite and respectful to law enforcement officers during an Anne Arundel traffic stop.
If an officer is pulled over by an unmarked police officer, they may wish to call the police station to confirm that the officer is who they say they are. In some situations, drivers may be able to actually drive to the nearest police station and conduct the traffic stop from there. A driver always has the right to request to see an officer’s badge and record their badge number.
A Traffic Attorney Could Help Fight Your Ticket
If you have been given a ticket by an officer, you will be asked to sign it. This signature is not an admission of guilt, but simply for verifying that the driver received a copy of the ticket. After being issued a ticket, drivers should get in touch with a lawyer and discuss their legal options. Strong legal counsel may be able to help you fight the charges or minimize the consequences. Call today to schedule a consultation for your traffic case and start building a strategy.