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Archive for the ‘traffic stop’ tag

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities During a Traffic Stop

March 28th, 2019 at 3:56 pm

Illinois traffic offenses, Illinois traffic stops, police search, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, searches and seizuresMany people do not have much interaction with the police. If they do, the chances are good that it is going to happen during a traffic stop. Even then, many people will only get pulled over two or three times while they are behind the wheel. When it happens, it is often very stressful. People imagine the worst as they sit in their car and watch the officer approaching.

In these cases, people are sometimes prepared to cooperate with the officer and do whatever they ask. These individuals do not understand that they have rights, and are not required to comply with everything an officer may request. Still, others may think they do not have to follow anything an officer instructs them to do at a traffic stop. These individuals may become belligerent or aggressive at a traffic stop.

So, what rights and responsibilities do people have when they are pulled over for a traffic stop?

Drivers Are Required to Pull Over

Any time a driver sees the flashing lights of a law enforcement vehicle, they must pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. In a few cases, a police officer may ask a driver to pull over, such as if the two vehicles are at a stop light, or if an officer walks up to the driver’s window while the vehicle is stopped. In either case, it is important that the driver complies with the officer’s request.

Under Section 11-204 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, failing to pull over for a police officer is considered fleeing the police, and it is illegal. Even if a driver simply takes too long to pull over, the officer may believe they are trying to evade the police. When this is the case, the driver will face penalties that are likely much more serious than the penalties they would face for the initial traffic violation.

Drivers Must Remain Calm

This is not written into Illinois law, but it can prevent the situation from escalating. When a driver can remain calm and speak politely to a police officer, it is less likely that the situation will develop into anything more. When drivers are aggressive and rude to police officers though, it could lead to further charges than they would have faced from the traffic stop alone. Police can misinterpret even small gestures such as the driver reaching for something in the vehicle. Due to this, it is always best if the driver keeps their hands visible and only gets out of the vehicle if the officer asks them to.

Drivers Are Not Required to Answer Questions

Drivers are required to provide a police officer with their driver’s license and registration if they are asked. However, they do not have to answer any questions the officer asks. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows individuals to refrain from answering questions that may incriminate them in a crime. This includes traffic stops.

Officers often ask a lot of questions during a traffic stop. They may ask a driver if they knew how fast they were going, or if the driver knows why they were pulled over. It is often advised that even when a driver feels as though they have done nothing wrong that they refrain from answering these questions. Anything a driver says can be held against them later on.

Drivers Do Not Have to Consent to a Search

Just because a driver has been pulled over does not give police officers the right to search the vehicle. Drivers can refuse this search, although officers are also given quite a bit of leniency during traffic stops. If they have reason to believe there is evidence of a crime in the vehicle, they can perform their search without the driver’s consent. For example, if an officer noticed drug paraphernalia in the vehicle, they might search the vehicle.

In order to search a vehicle, police officers must have probable cause. Due to this, drivers can ask police what they are searching for, or what probable cause they have.

Did You Get Into Trouble at a Traffic Stop? Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer that can Help

Traffic stops may seem minor, but they can quickly become a much more serious situation. When this is the case, drivers should contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer for help. If you were pulled over and it led to serious charges or you feel as though you were treated unfairly, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 today. We understand you have rights that may have been violated, and we will help make to correct that situation, ensuring those rights are upheld. Do not try to handle your case on your own. Call now for your free consultation.



Navigating a Traffic Stop

August 5th, 2014 at 7:00 am

Rolling Meadows traffic violations defense attorneys, traffic stop, traffic stop violations, traffic violations, traffic lawyer, vehicle search, officer safetyPolice can use any number of possible violations as a reason to pull over a vehicle, from an expired registration or broken tail light to erratic driving or speeding. Sometimes, these actions alone constitute violations of an applicable traffic safety law. Other times, law enforcement may use these violations as a pretext to stop a vehicle and determine if another crime has been or is being committed. It is important for citizens to be aware of their rights when being pulled over by a police officer. Read on for advice on what to do if you are pulled over by law enforcement.

Conducting Yourself

If you see an officer attempting to pull you over, drive your car to the nearest safe spot on the side of the road. It is likely in your best interest to be as polite and courteous to the officer as possible at this point. Show you are willing to cooperate by rolling down your window and placing your hands on your steering wheel. Cooperate with any requests to see your driver’s license and registration.

It is important to remain in your vehicle unless the officer asks you to exit it. The officer is within his rights to ask you or your passengers to exit the car and stand on the side of the road, but you should not do so unless it is requested of you. While you should maintain a respectful demeanor in communicating with the officer, avoid sharing too much information or making admissions in the course of the conversation. Brief, straightforward answers are advised, as the officer may attempt to use anything you say against you later in court.

Search of Your Vehicle

There are certain circumstances under which an officer is permitted to further search you or your vehicle in connection with a traffic stop. One such circumstance includes a situation in which the officer reasonably suspects his or her safety to be compromised. In this scenario, an officer may be legally permitted to perform a pat-down of the vehicle’s driver. In addition, any clearly illegal object that are easily viewed by the officer upon the traffic stop may be seized. This may include empty beer or wine bottles, illegal drugs, or drug paraphernalia. If these objects are enough to constitute a criminal arrest, the officer may pat you down after placing you in custody to ensure there are no weapons or other items that can compromise officer safety.

Performing further searches of the vehicle, its contents, or any of the passengers in it usually requires probable cause, a higher standard that involves officers having a more definite justification that a vehicle’s occupants are involved in criminal activity. Police officers, too, can perform a more thorough search of a vehicle if given permission by the driver or possibly in connection with the driver’s arrest.

Criminal Defense Attorney

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have experience defending clients who have been charged with traffic offenses in both Cook and DuPage County. Contact our Rolling Meadows traffic violations defense attorneys today to schedule a consultation.

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