Few things are worse than the unmistakable sight of red and blue flashing lights in your rearview mirror while you are driving. When a police officer pulls you over, he or she will ask you for your driver’s license, insurance information, and motor vehicle registration. However, even though you are being detained, you have certain legal and constitutional rights that remain available to you – primarily under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Police officers must also have a reasonable justification for pulling your vehicle over in the first place and for searching your vehicle.
If you believe that your rights may have been violated by a police officer, the Indiana criminal defense lawyers at Arshad, Pangere & Warring may be able to assist you. We can investigate the circumstances of your traffic stop or other interaction with the police officer and determine if a constitutional violation may have occurred. We can also assist you with defending against a criminal charge that may have resulted from your traffic stop or other police interaction.
When a police officer decides to pull a vehicle over, he or she must first have probable cause for doing so. In other words, the officer must have a legal basis for pulling you over, such as if you were speeding, failed to use a turn signal, had a tail light out, ran a red light or stop sign, or committed some other traffic violation. Police officers are not permitted to engage in random traffic stops.
Apart from providing general “intake” information, such as your name, and providing the officer with a copy of your license, registration, and proof of motor vehicle insurance, you are not required to answer police questions without having your lawyer present. However, this is a right that you have to assert on your own. If the officer does begin questioning, you should simply state that you will not be answering any questions without having your lawyer present.
When a police officer asks to search your vehicle, the officer will most likely be looking for incriminating evidence. In general, police officers in Indiana do not have a right to undertake a motor vehicle search if speeding or some other minor traffic violation is the only evidence they have of potential wrongdoing. If you do allow the police officer to search your motor vehicle (i.e., you provide consent to the search), the officer can seize anything in the vehicle that may be evidence of a crime (such as illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia), and this incriminating evidence may later be used to charge you later on.
If you believe that your legal or constitutional rights were violated by an Indiana police officer, such as during a traffic stop, the skilled attorneys at Arshad, Pangere & Warring welcome the opportunity to investigate your situation. For a legal consultation or case evaluation with a knowledgeable Indiana criminal defense attorney, please contact us online today for more information.
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