Each day, countless numbers of drivers are pulled over for routine traffic stops on the roads and highways of the nation. Law enforcement officers may pull a driver over for numerous reasons; the most popular of which are speeding, failure to use their turn signals, and not wearing a seat belt. Officers may also choose to apprehend drivers who display reckless behavior or show signs of intoxication behind the wheel.
If you notice the flashing lights of a law enforcement vehicle behind your car, you are required by law to pull over and speak with the officer. It is recommended that you pull over to the shoulder of the road, or in high traffic or hazardous areas, park the vehicle as soon as possible in a location away from the flow of traffic. If a driver fails to stop after being flagged by the police, he or she may face criminal charges that may result in fines or jail time.
If an officer observes a driver operating his or her vehicle at excessive speed, the police officer has reason enough to stop the driver. Erratic driving, failure to stay in the lanes on the road, and other suspicious behavior may be enough to warrant a stop for suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Persons under suspicion of DWI may be asked to perform roadside sobriety tests or submit to a breathalyzer test to determine the individual's blood-alcohol-level.
During a traffic stop, you are required by law to show a valid driver's license and proof of insurance. Drivers who do not have a valid license may be arrested and taken to jail, and failure to maintain financial responsibility for your vehicle may result in tickets and fines. You do not have to allow officers to search your vehicle unless the officer has a search warrant or views items that give him or her probable cause for search.
It is important to remember that if you are arrested during a traffic stop, any statements you make may be used against you during a criminal trial. It is important to be polite during traffic stops and follow the legal requirements of cooperation. If you have been wrongly accused of a crime during a traffic stop, do not argue with the officers, but remember to write down any details of the event and consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If you have any questions regarding traffic stops and criminal defense, visit the website of the Austin criminal defense attorney Ian Inglis.