Have you ever looked in your rear-view mirror and seen the red and blue flashing lights of a police squad car? Did you get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when this happened? If this was your first time being pulled over, this might have been your reaction. You may have then found yourself asking, "What should I do now?"
Getting pulled over can be an incredibly stressful experience, especially if you're not sure of the proper procedure or your exact rights during a traffic stop. You might worry about what you're going to say or if any of it can be used against you either for a search of your vehicle or an arrest. You can eliminate some of this anxiety, though, by following these simple traffic stop tips:
- Be polite and courteous to the officer. This is perhaps the most important thing you can do during a traffic stop. Officers respond favorably to drivers who are nice and cooperative during a stop. If you respect the officer, chances are they'll respect you in return.
- Don't admit to any wrongdoing. If an officer asks if you've been drinking, you do not have to answer the question. This gives them probable cause to administer field sobriety tests, including a breath test. This does not mean, however, that you should lie. Lying constitutes obstruction of justice, which can create more problems for you later on.
- Consider the consequences of refusing a breath test. North Carolina is an implied consent state. This means any driver with a North Carolina license has automatically consented to chemical testing during a police stop. You always have the right to refuse a breath test, but consider the consequences: you can be arrested and taken in for testing. On top of that, a breath test refusal costs you your license for six months.
- Talk to an attorney as soon as you can. The best offense starts with a good offense, so talk to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested and charged with DUI/DWI or another traffic offense. Evidence should be gathered immediately and statements should be taken while they are still fresh in people's memories. Doing this can mean the difference between trying a case and having the charges against you dismissed.
Protect Your Rights — Take Action Today
If you or a loved one has been arrested and criminal charges have been assessed, remember your right to legal representation. Contact my law firm, Dylan W. Greenwood, Attorney at Law PLLC, and gain access to defensive strategies that question the validity of a stop and prove you didn't commit a crime on purpose. Let me handle things on the back end, call my Winston-Salem office at 336-794-6138 and start protecting your rights today.