What to Do During a Traffic Stop

Many clients ask what they should do if they have been pulled over by police. First, be polite. The police officer is just doing his job so you shouldn’t take it personally that you have been pulled over. Also, being rude or aggressive with the officer could lead to additional charges. Always be polite. You should also keep your hands in plain sight of the officer and avoid sudden movements. This helps the officer feel secure in his or her safety. If, however, the officer suspects you are impaired behind the wheel and asks for further testing, there are certain things you can do to preserve your rights.

Field Sobriety Test and Preliminary Breath Test

If the officer asks you to perform a Field Sobriety Test, you are able to refuse and it is not against the law. In fact, it is generally a wise idea to do so. These tests are designed to be very difficult whether a person is impaired or not. Combine this with the general nervousness of a traffic stop and it could lead to a failure which an attorney will need to rebut at trial. Therefore, it may be best to refuse these tests.

Likewise, the officer may ask you to perform a Preliminary Breath Test. Again, you can refuse this without penalty. There is “implied consent” that, after you have been arrested, you must submit to chemical testing of your blood or breath. Until you have been placed under arrest, however, you are under no obligation to submit to testing. Neither of these refusals cannot be admitted into evidence at trial.

Refusing these tests may still get you arrested if the officer suspects you are under the influence, and once you are arrested you will need to consent to a chemical test. But by refusing these preliminary tests, you can prevent the officer from collecting evidence against you, helping your lawyer when it comes time for trial.