What to Do When You’re Pulled Over
Keep calm, protect your rights, and call an attorney
When you see flashing lights behind you, it’s easy to panic – but you need to keep your wits about you. The choices you make during a traffic stop can have a significant effect on your future, especially if you’re charged with DUI or another crime behind the wheel.
If you know your legal rights, you can protect your best interests without escalating the situation or putting yourself in danger. Follow these tips, and don’t hesitate to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible if you are now facing charges after a traffic stop.
What To Do When You’re Pulled Over in Florida
Presented by Thomas C. Grajek, Attorney at Law
Stop your vehicle at the first safe location
If you can’t pull over immediately, slow down so the police officer knows you’re looking for a place to stop.
Once you’re pulled over and safely out of the roadway:
- Roll down your window
- Turn off your car
- Put your hands on the steering wheel
Follow the officer’s instructions – as long as they’re legal
Remain in your seat unless the officer asks you to exit the vehicle. You must exit the vehicle if you are instructed to do so.
Keep these documents in a place where you can easily reach them:
- Driver’s license
- Proof of insurance
If you have to reach for something, tell the officer where it is and ask for permission before reaching.
If you have a weapon, tell the officer what it is and where it’s located.
Remember you have the right to remain silent.
You are only required to tell the officer your name and address. You don’t have to answer any other questions.
Don’t escalate or argue. If you choose not to answer a question, politely decline.
You have a First Amendment right to record the police
Federal courts have ruled that police officers have no expectation of privacy during a traffic stop – even in states like Florida that usually require two-party consent to record.
But be smart! Reaching for your phone or pointing it at an officer may escalate the situation.
The best option is to set up your phone to record secretly ahead of time.
Never consent to a search.
Police officers cannot search you or your vehicle without your consent, unless they have a warrant or probable cause to suspect a crime has been committed. (Field Sobriety Exercises and Breath Tests are searches!)
Do not physically resist a search! Say “I do not consent to a search,” then stand aside if the officer chooses to search anyway.
Refusing to consent preserves your attorney’s right to fight the search results in court.
You can legally decline the field sobriety exercises.
Field sobriety “tests” such as
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
- Walk and Turn
- One-Leg Stand
are optional in Florida.
You can politely decline to participate with no legal consequences.
Remember, there are consequences for refusing a chemical test.
Florida’s “implied consent” law means the police have the right to request breath, blood, or urine testing if they have probable cause to suspect DUI.
If you refuse to submit to testing, your driver’s license will be suspended.
Remain calm and don’t argue.
If you need to assert your rights, be calm and polite. Don’t escalate the situation.
You have the right to an attorney. Use it.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI or another crime, you need an experienced lawyer in your corner.
Contact Thomas C. Grajek, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation.
Click here to download a printable version of the infographic, "What To Do When You’re Pulled Over in Florida".