We have all been there… One second you are driving down the highway without a care in the world and the next moment you are being pulled over. You try feverishly to figure out why you were pulled over, come up with a legitimate excuse (if you need it), and then you worry about what will happen next. In Alabama, law enforcement cannot pull you over without a reason. They have a reason … right? Maybe your lights were off/out, maybe you missed a sign, didn’t signal while changing lanes, or you might have been speeding; the possibilities are endless. With everything stacked against you, what can you do? What are your rights? What can they do to you?
What Are My Rights During A Traffic Stop?
First off, law enforcement cannot pull you over just to see if you are doing something wrong / have something illegal in your possession; they must have probable cause.
Next, you have the right to continue driving until it is safe to pull over. Of course, you need to let law enforcement know that you are pulling over by using your flashers/signal lights. If you are in a remote area and do not feel safe, you can contact 911 while driving to ask if there are law enforcement officials in the area who can verify that you are indeed being pulled over by an official law enforcement official (think safe; be smart).
Next, you do not have to get out of the vehicle. However, an officer may ask you to step out of your vehicle for your safety and/or theirs. If they do, it is advisable to do so as this shows compliance versus non-compliance (could come up in your court case; if it gets that far).
Next, you have the right to refuse the request to search your vehicle. Without a warrant, law enforcement officials cannot look for anything illegal in your vehicle without probable cause (smell, sight, visible). We never recommend that you grant permission to search your vehicle.
Finally, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test. While this is your right, Alabama is an implied consent state, which means refusing the test will most likely end up with an arrest and possibly a suspension of your driver’s license. A refusal can also be used as evidence against you.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation with Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer Tim Fleming
Law enforcement officials make hundreds of stops daily, oftentimes, looking for easy marks so they can “meet quotas”. Traffic violations are some of the easiest offenses with a good chance for add-ons (finding illegal drugs and/or weapons; outstanding arrest warrants).
If you feel that you were profiled, illegally stopped, or that your rights were violated during your traffic stop, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you navigate your case. In some instances, the evidence is clear and shows bias and/or disregard for your rights and the case will end up being thrown out.
Contact us to schedule your confidential consultation by calling us at (251) 304-0888 or use our online contact form to let us know when a good time to speak with you would be.