Do you tense up when you see a police car in the mirror? Do you slow down whenever you see one parked on the side of the road even if you’re not speeding?
Though these reactions are natural for a lot of people, the police officers have to find a reason to stop your car. They cannot stop you randomly unless it’s a DUI checkpoint. That infringes on your rights. They need to see you make a mistake or have reasonable suspicion that you’re breaking the law — by driving under the influence, for example.
Some of the most common reasons that police officers make traffic stops include the following:
- They see a driver who is texting and driving.
- They spot a car that is going over the speed limit.
- They notice equipment or safety violations on the car.
- They spot hazardous driving tactics, like aggressive driving or illegal turns.
- They see the driver break traffic rules, such as turning without a blinker or running a stop sign.
- They see a car that is going well under the speed limit.
- They witness dangerous types of aggressive driving, like tailgating.
- They do not think that the driver has a seat belt on.
- They see “questionable activity” that could be illegal. For instance, if you drink a glass bottle of soda in the car, will an officer think it’s a beer and assume you are drinking and driving?
When you get pulled over, you need to know what legal rights you have. This starts with determining why the police stopped you and if it was legal. An experienced attorney can help.