Have You Been Pulled Over?
It’s important to know your rights as an Tahlequah resident when you’ve been pulled over by a police officer. Whether the stop is a simple routine traffic stop, or you’ve been pulled over for speeding, or some other offense. Knowing and exercising your rights can only help and protect you.
You Have Rights. Know Them!
Under normal circumstances, police officers cannot force you to allow them to search your car. There are exceptions to this rule. If an officer has reasonable suspicion that you are involved in criminal activity, they may ask you to exit the vehicle, and pat you down. If they have probable cause, or a justifiable reason, they may search your car, even if you do not explicitly give them permission. Barring these circumstances, you have the right to refuse a search. Bear in mind that doing so may motivate the officer to be less lenient in other areas of the stop, such as out of date insurance papers, or burnt out brake lights.
What to Say / Not to Say
Generally speaking, the more amicable and cooperative you are with the officer, the more likely you are to have a good experience. Do be careful not to admit guilt while talking to the officer. Often times drivers will admit to speeding “just a little bit”. In that case, the officer will most likely provide you with a speeding ticket.