Seeing flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror while you’re driving can be a heart-stopping moment. You might glance at your speedometer to check if you were speeding, or you might wonder whether one of your brake lights went out. Regardless of the reason you are being stopped, it can be an incredibly stressful experience that induces nervousness and anxiety. Many drivers find that they feel much more comfortable and less anxious when they know what their rights are during a traffic stop. By understanding what you can expect from a police officer when you’re pulled over, and what kind of behavior is acceptable, you can feel much more confident in the event that this happens to you. Here is some useful information from a longtime bail bonds agent in Angleton:
- Vehicle searches can’t be arbitrary: Once you have been pulled over, an officer can’t simply demand to search your vehicle without having probable cause. If an officer does not have a warrant to search your vehicle—or any piece of private property, for that matter—they must have reason to believe that a crime is being committed. If you haven’t committed any driving infractions and there is no probable cause to indicate criminal activity, an officer will need your permission to search your vehicle, which you can refuse.
- Reasonable suspicion is sufficient to stop you: A police officer doesn’t need probable cause to pull you over—they only need reasonable suspicion. Because reasonable suspicion is so vaguely defined from a legal perspective, you shouldn’t be surprised if you are pulled over by a police officer for a seemingly arbitrary reason.
- You must show firearm licenses: If you have a license to carry a firearm or a concealed weapon permit, you should immediately disclose this information to a police officer. It’s also important to tell a police officer about any weapons that are in your vehicle, and their locations. This is especially important since a police officer may be alarmed or feel threatened if they catch a glimpse of a firearm that you haven’t disclosed.
- Breathalyzer tests are not compulsory: Contrary to popular belief, you are not required to take a Breathalyzer test if asked by police. However, it is usually better to take the test anyway. A police officer can immediately suspend your license and use your refusal against you in court if you refuse to take the test.
- You may record your interaction: It is perfectly legal for you to record your interaction with an officer who pulls you over using a camera, phone or voice recorder, even if you don’t get permission from the officer. Recorded documentation of your interaction may come in handy, especially if you feel that your rights were violated during a traffic stop.
It can be challenging to understand your rights, but finding out more may make you more confident during interactions with law enforcement. Here at Brazoria County Bail Bonds, we are passionate about providing our clients with the information and services that they need to navigate the bail bonds process. If you or a family member needs help from a bail bonds agent in Angleton, please feel free to give us a call.