What to Expect at a Traffic Stop in Oakland
There are several reasons why a law enforcement official may ask an individual to pull over their vehicle. Many times, traffic stops lead to DUI investigations. If an officer observes objective signs of intoxication, they may ask the person to step outside of the vehicle so they can conduct a DUI investigation. If they observe other crimes or probable cause of other crimes, such as a firearm or drug paraphernalia, that could lead to an arrest and a search of the vehicle.
No matter the reasons, it is important to know what to expect at a traffic stop in Oakland to ensure your rights are protected. Furthermore, if you believe your rights were violated during a traffic stop, a qualified traffic attorney may be able to help you.
What to Do Before Being Pulled Over
As soon as it becomes clear an officer wants an individual to pullover, the person should immediately try to locate a place to stop safely. If one is on a highway and there is no shoulder, he or she should take the first exit off and pull into the closest area.
It is recommended that an individual always pulls into flat, level, well-lit areas. While the driver searches for a safe place to pull over, he or she must indicate in some way that they are slowing down. This could be done by using a turn signal.
How to Speak to an Officer
During a traffic stop, it is critical that a person not exit their vehicle, unless an officer orders them to do so. Additionally, if an officer does order an individual out of their vehicle, it is safest to comply. An officer may request someone to exit his or her vehicle because they are conducting a further investigation based on the observations he or she made. However, the officer should not search a vehicle without consent or probable cause.
At a traffic stop, the law enforcement official usually asks questions about the person’s identification, where he or she is coming from or going to, as well as the activities he or she is engaged in. The officer may also ask if an individual was drinking, if he or she is on any medication, if he or she is suffering from any injuries, or if there is anything mechanically wrong with the vehicle. While the officer is not limited in what he or she may ask, there are some limits about how long he or she may detain a person before it becomes unlawful detention.
It should also be noted that there is no requirement that an individual answer any of an officer’s questions. If someone does not want to answer, he or she could politely decline.
Requesting Insurance, License, and Registration
In a standard traffic stop that does not lead to any further criminal conduct, the officer will request the insurance, license, and registration information from the driver. The officer will then run it through a computer or call it in to get the background check done. The officer is looking at whether the individual is on probation or parole, if he or she has any warrants, and any evidence that could warrant further investigation.
The officer also looks at the driver’s record to see if there is anything he or she should be aware of as they continue engaging with the driver, such as any prior DUIs. If there is a probation or parole hold, the officer will determine whether there is a search and seizure clause. If there is, the officer will have the driver get out of the vehicle and search the car subject to the search and seizure clause in the probation or parole terms.
Contact an Attorney to Discuss What to Expect at an Oakland Traffic Stop
When a person is pulled over for a traffic stop, he or she may ask the police officer why they were stopped and whether they are free to go or if they are being detained. Excessive conversations or answering questions from the officers is not encouraged. Additionally, individuals have the right to not consent to a search.
These and many other nuances are important to understand while being pulled over. If you know what to expect at a traffic stop in Oakland, you could better protect your rights. If an officer detained you for too long, unlawfully searched your vehicle, or requested your exit your vehicle for unlawful reasons, you could benefit from reaching out to an Oakland traffic attorney. Call today.