Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower Michigan.

Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower michigan.

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What are my rights during a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2023 | Criminal Defense, Traffic

If you are pulled over by a police officer in Michigan, would you know what to do and are you aware of your legal rights? It is understandable that the experience may be stressful and you want to make sure that your actions don’t get you into a situation that is worse than when you were first pulled over.

There are certain actions that you should take if you find yourself in such a situation and other things that you shouldn’t do because those things may make the situation worse than it was already.

  • Emergency lights flashing: When you first notice the emergency lights flashing behind your vehicle, you will want to pull over immediately to the right side of the road as soon as you determine that it is safe to do so. Try to stay as calm and still as you are able. Remain in your vehicle, open the driver’s side window and place your hands on the steering wheel so that they are visible to the police officer.
  • Provide the requested documentation: When the officer asks you for your driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance documentation, hand those over to them. At this point, it is the officer’s responsibility to let you know why they stopped you. If they don’t let you know, you are within your rights to ask why they stopped you (after you have provided all of your documentation). Make sure that you speak respectfully to the officer. They should treat you with equal respect.
  • A citation: If the police officer issues you a citation, don’t argue then and there. If you feel that the citation is unfair, the appropriate place to dispute it is in court.
  • When you are dismissed: When the police officer tells you that you can go, make sure that you put on your seatbelt and make sure that it is safe to the road after you pull out. Once you are back on the road, make sure that you follow all traffic laws and be sure to use your turn signal when appropriate. It is likely that the officer will remain where they stopped you until you are back on the road.

Defending your rights and pushing back when necessary

If you were stopped on the road by a police officer and you feel that the officer behaved inappropriately or they treated you unfairly, you are within your rights to follow up and call the officer’s supervisor to discuss the matter. It is important that you do everything possible to protect your rights. If you follow the rules and something still doesn’t feel right, it may be wise to get legal support that will help you to get what is right for you.