When an accident occurs, or the police pull you over due to what they claim is something you did wrong, the most important thing you can do is to be empowered by your rights. While the police typically make wise decisions and are tasked with a difficult job, you, as a citizen of Oklahoma, have rights as well. So, what are your rights when pulled over by police?
Most people get pulled over at some time. You should not feel like you are at risk when pulled over, and as long as you were doing what you were supposed to, you should be okay, right?
No matter why you are pulled over, it is critical to know your rights. At BDIW Law, our Osage County criminal defense lawyer is committed to helping our clients get compensation for any losses they incur while also ensuring that our clients always have access to fair treatment and protection under the rights our country provides to us. Here are some things you should know.
Present the Required Information
Oklahoma law states that you do need to provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance to the police officer when they request it. You have to let the officer know that the car is yours (or whose car it is), as well as tell them whether or not you have car insurance.
It is wise to be clear about this information. For example, when pulled over, stay still. Open the window to talk to the police officer. When they ask for your identification, tell them where it is. “Okay, it is in the glove box. Let me get that.” Tell them what you are doing before you start rummaging through your car. They do not know what you are looking for, and that puts the officer at risk.
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You do Not Have to Tell Them Anything Else
While presenting this information to the police officer is necessary, you should not feel compelled to say anything else. For example, if the police officer states, “Do you know how fast you were going?” you do not have to answer. By answering with “yes” or “no,” you are admitting that you could have been speeding. Rather, simply tell the officer that you are exercising your Fifth Amendment rights.
Remember that when you are pulled over, even if you do not believe you did anything wrong, the police officer is investigating a crime of some type. As a result, you are being questioned. If you tell them details about the incident, you may open yourself up to fault.
You should know what you can and cannot do. For example, you should stay in your car and simply tell the officer that you are exercising your right to be silent. That is all you have to say. If you are worried about what may happen or not, you should protect your rights. Review our FAQs for more information.
The Breathalyzer Test
One of the areas that is often discussed as to what your rights are has to do with breathalyzer or field sobriety testing. Under Oklahoma law, you can refuse to take these tests. There are many times when our clients do take them, and the results are inaccurate or misleading. Other times, they do not take them, and they are unsure what to do next.
You can refuse to have a breath test or to do any type of field sobriety testing. If you do, the officer will treat that as a failed test. That means you are likely to have to go to the station for more questions. However, at this point, we highly encourage you to contact your attorney so that you are not at risk of making statements or engaging in any way that could put you at risk otherwise.
What Happens If You Are Afraid?
Being pulled over by the police for any reason can be an overwhelming experience, and it is very common to be afraid at that moment. We encourage you to remain as calm as possible. Nearly all police officers are not going to cause you any harm and are likely just doing their job. If you are empowered with insight into what your rights are, you have nothing to fear.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- When pulled over, open the window a few inches to communicate with the officer. The officer may ask you to lower it more so they can better hear you. Avoid refusing to open the window.
- The officer has the right to ask to search your car if they have probable cause to do so. They may see, for example, an open can in the car, or they may smell drugs. If they ask to do so, follow the officer’s directions for stepping out of the car.
- If you are afraid of what is occurring, ask the officer, or you can call 911 directly. When you do this, you will be able to speak to the supervisor on duty, and they can provide you with more information about what is occurring.
You have the legal right to film what is occurring. You can record what the police officer is doing in public. However, you cannot interfere with the officer’s work and duties. That means that if the officer asks you to step out of the car, you should still do so.
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Talk to Your Legal Team When You Have Questions
In every situation, it is best to speak to an attorney who can answer all of your questions about your rights. If you believe your rights were violated in any way when you were pulled over, request a consultation with an attorney who can offer insight and guidance to you.
Providing accurate information, remaining calm, and not violating your right to be silent can help you to minimize charges against you and help you avoid incriminating yourself. Work with our legal team at BDIW to learn more about how we can help you navigate what comes next in this type of legal situation. Contact us now for a consultation.
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