If police pull you over while you’re driving (or while you’re a passenger in a car), you have certain rights guaranteed to you under the U.S. Constitution. You have these rights whether or not you’re a U.S. citizen, so even if you’re in the United States without documentation, you can exercise them.
Here’s what you need to know about being pulled over by police.
What Rights Do You Have When Police Pull You Over?
When police pull you over, both you and your passengers (or you, if you’re the passenger):
- Have the right to remain silent
- Ask if you’re free to leave (as a passenger)
Let’s take a closer look at these.
Your Right to Remain Silent if You’re Pulled Over by Police
If the police pull you over, you have the right to remain silent. However, you should exercise that right by saying so out loud. You can tell the police, calmly and respectfully, that you want to exercise your right to remain silent.
However, even though you’re remaining silent, if you’re driving and police ask you for your license, you still have to show it to them.
Your Right to Ask if You’re Free to Leave
If you’re a passenger, you have the right to ask the police if you’re free to leave. If they aren’t arresting you, you do have the right to leave – and you can do so silently.
How Can You Reduce Risk to Yourself if You’re Pulled Over?
If police pull you over, the best course of action is this:
- Stop the car as safely but as quickly as possible.
- Turn off the car, turn on your internal light and open the window part of the way.
- Put your hands on the steering wheel. If you’re a passenger, put your hands on the dashboard.
- Do not reach for your driver’s license, registration or proof of insurance until police tell you to do so.
Do not make any sudden movements at all. Keep your hands where police can see them at all times.
What to Do if You’re Arrested or Detained
If police are detaining you or arresting you, here’s how to handle the situation:
- Say that you want to remain silent and that you want to talk to your lawyer. Do not explain anything or make any decisions without consulting with an attorney.
- Ask to make a phone call. You have the right to make a local call, and if you tell the police that you’re calling your lawyer, they can’t listen in. However, if you call anyone else, they can and will listen in on your call – so don’t say anything about the situation other than to tell the person on the other end where you are. Do not mention why you’re there!
What Should You Do if Police Violated Your Rights When You Were Pulled Over?
If you believe the police violated your rights when they pulled you over and you’ve been charged with a crime, we may be able to help you.
Call us at 847-920-4540 for a free consultation with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney today. If it’s easier, fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as possible.