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What to Do If You are Pulled Over Part 2: The Stop

I will begin this post as I will begin many others; please don't drink and drive. It's stupid and REALLY expensive if you get caught, not to mention you might kill someone. DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE. That being said, here's some tips on what you can do if you get pulled over and the officer could suspect you of drinking. If you have been stopped, do the following to reduce your chances of a bad encounter with the police.

1. Roll down your windows as soon as you see the flashing lights. This will do two important things. First, it makes the encounter with the police shorter, as he doesn't have to wait for you to roll down your window. Secondly, and more importantly, it prevents a blast of odors you may not want the police to smell from hitting the cop in the face like taking the lid off of a pot of chili.

2. Calm down. Acting nervous is another one of those checklist items. Acting nervous can make the police anxious to why you are acting that way, and could result in a pulled gun instead of a breath test, so just act normally.

3. Along those same lines, keep your hands on the wheel. Seeing a suspect dig around in their car or pockets when getting pulled over increases police anxiety as well. If you have to reach something, like your driver's license, explain to the police officer first. Something like "I am going to reach into the glove compartment to get my paperwork" will suffice.

4. Be nice. Police have a terrible job. During the course of their day, probably 95% of the people they interact with do not want to deal with the police. No one wants to see them pull up behind their car. The courtesy you display toward the police may go a long way in the officer's decision to continue the investigation or to let you off with a warning.

5. But not too nice. The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution is a good one; one of my favorites. The Supreme Court has interpreted it to say (essentially) that the police can't look through your stuff without probable cause. That is, unless of course you give them permission. Once you say "sure officer, look through my car" everything that is in your car that can be used against you will be used against you. Contrary to popular belief, the question "Would you mind if I looked in your car/trunk" is not a test to see if you say no, therefore you must be hiding something. It is a waiver of your Constitutional rights. So be nice and courteous, just not accommodating to Constitutional violations.

6. Don't be an idiot. Yelling at the police, quickly moving around the car to stash whatever you shouldn't have, getting out of the car and walking toward the patrol car, being a smart-ass, etc. are all idiotic things to do. Don't do them.

If you have been arrested and/or charged with a DUI/DWI in Branson, Nixa, Ozark, Springfield, Greene County, Chrisitan County, Taney County, Stone County, or anywhere in the surrounding area of Southwest Missouri, please schedule a free consulation today by calling (417) 334-6316 or by clicking "Contact Us" above.

Joshua Garrett
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