5 Things You Should Never Do During a Traffic Stop in Illinois

If you’re ever pulled over while driving in Illinois, there are a few things you should never do. This guide explains five of them – from arguing with the police to resisting arrest – and what could happen if you don’t follow these tips.

5 Things You Should Never Do During a Traffic Stop in Illinois

Check out the five things you should never do if the police pull you over:

  1. Consent to a search
  2. Argue with police
  3. Fidget or reach for anything
  4. Drive off
  5. Resist, even if the cop is wrong

Here’s a closer look at each.

Bad Idea #1 During a Traffic Stop: Consenting to a Search

If the police officer asks to search your car, Illinois law says you can refuse. In fact, you should refuse – even if you have nothing to hide. Unless a police officer has probable cause to believe that they’ll find evidence of a crime in your vehicle, they’re not allowed to search your car. If they search your car without probable cause, a signed warrant or your consent, the items they find (if any) may not be used in court.

Note: Police are allowed to search your vehicle if they have probable cause.

Bad Idea #2 During a Traffic Stop: Arguing with Police

It’s best not to argue with the police officer, even if you know you’re right and they’re wrong. This is because the police officer may take your argument as noncompliance, feel that you’re suspicious, or choose to accuse you of resisting arrest – which is a crime in itself. The best course of action is to be quiet, even if the police officer is wrong. You can hash out the details later.

Related: What does beyond a reasonable doubt mean?

Bad Idea #3 During a Traffic Stop: Fidgeting or Reaching for Anything

If you’re pulled over, the police officer may ask you to step out of your vehicle. After you’re out of the car, they may pat you down for weapons. If you fidget or reach for anything at any point during a traffic stop, the police officer may think you’re trying to hide something or going for a weapon – which could lead to serious consequences.

Bad Idea #4 During a Traffic Stop: Driving Off

Some people think that they can outrun the police by driving off. Spoiler alert: They can’t. In fact, trying to drive away is a terrible idea. If you try to drive away, you’ll get hit with the charge of fleeing or evading arrest… and that’s in addition to facing consequences for whatever caused the police to pull you over in the first place.

Related: Should you refuse a breath test if police pull you over for DUI?

Bad Idea #5 During a Traffic Stop: Resisting Arrest – Even if the Cop is Wrong

If the police officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, you should do so. If they ask you to put your hands behind your back, you should do so. If they tell you that you’re under arrest, you should go quietly. The key word here is quietly; don’t answer any questions or explain yourself. Just let the police know that you’d like to speak to an attorney.

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