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How to talk to police when you’re pulled over in Raleigh, North Carolina

Getting pulled over by the police can be a very nerve racking experience. If you are pulled over in Raleigh, NC by a police officer there are a few things you should keep in mind. It is important to remember that when an officer approaches your car they have no idea whether or not you pose a threat to their physical safety. Police officers are killed or hurt during routine traffic stops, and for this reason, they will always approach you as if you are dangerous. The following tips on how to talk to the police when you’re pulled over will keep you safe and may even prevent you from being arrested or getting a ticket!

Before the officer approaches your vehicle, put the car in park, turn off the ignition, roll down your window and put both hands on the steering wheel. If it’s nighttime, turn on your interior dome light. Do not go digging into your glove box or purse until you are asked for your ID and registration. The officer will be watching your movements as soon as his overhead blue lights are activated.

Cooperation can go a long way, so politely give your name and address if asked. If the officer asks you to get out of the car, do so respectfully. Do not act hostile or defensive, and let the officer do the talking. Many officers are trained to get you to make admissions, so do not be tempted to immediately admit wrongdoing in the hopes of just receiving a warning.

Do not ever lie to a police officer, but keep your responses to their questions brief. If you feel like you may be placed under arrest, it is best to remain silent and to ask for an attorney before responding to further questioning. Don’t say anything voluntary that will be used against you in a court of law at a later time. Remember – remaining silent is not an admission of guilt. A good line to remember is “Officer, I want to remain cooperative but I don’t want to answer that without an attorney present.”

The police officer may ask to search your car and you should not consent to a search. If an officer has probable cause to search your car, he or she will do so without your consent. The side of the road is not the place to engage in a discussion on whether or not you feel the officer has probable cause to search your vehicle. The officer may pat you down if they ask you to step out of the car, and if they find something suspicious, they will search your car despite your opinion on the matter.

If you are pulled over under suspicion of drinking and driving, you may be tempted to admit to having a couple drinks, but there is nothing to be gained by admitting to anything. There is no field sobriety test that you are required to perform while under the side of the road. The only test that has implications as to your future driving privileges is the breath test at the station. Refusing a breath test on the side of the road won’t result in a suspension of your driving privileges despite what the officer may tell you.

Your behavior and demeanor after being pulled over by a police officer is equally as important as your response to any question. Officers are trained to observe any suspicious or odd behavior. Be polite, and do your best to stay calm. If you’re unsure what to say, the best thing to do is to remain silent and ask for a criminal defense lawyer – especially if you are placed in custody. For more information on hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Raleigh, NC, contact the Scharff Law Firm at (919) 457-1954.