When you are involved in a routine traffic stop, the way you react to the police officer and what you say are very important. There are four things that you must keep in mind during a traffic stop; each of which could have an impact on your case if you are charged or arrested and required to go to court.
• Do Not Admit Anything. It does not matter how simple or how involved the reason for your stop, you do not want to admit fault. If you admit to anything, or for that matter, agree to anything, you are admitting guilt. It is better to say nothing at all than to agree with the officer that you committed an offense. Many traffic lawyers, such as attorney Bill Powers, might advise that it is much easier to explain to a judge the circumstances surrounding your traffic stop than to try and convince an officer you were doing no wrong.
• Do Not Lie About Anything. Telling tall tales to try to avoid a ticket or an arrest will only make things worse. When you are brought before the judge, the ridiculous story will be brought out, and it will make you look very bad in the eyes of the court. It is better to remain silent than to say something that could affect you at a later time.
• Do Not Have An Attitude. If you have been pulled over, it is most likely for a real reason. Even if the reason is something that is minor like a broken tail light, there was a violation that caused the police officer to stop your car. Having an attitude with the officer will not only bring about a bad outcome, it may also bring additional charges. Try to be friendly and cooperative with the officer, without incriminating yourself, and you may leave the traffic stop without a ticket or court date. Nearly 85 percent of all traffic stops do not result in a ticket, only a warning.
• If The Stop Involves An Accident. If you are involved in an accident, it is very important that you only provide enough information for the police officer to complete the report. Do not accept any blame for the accident, and unless it is very apparent, do not blame the other driver. You will want to speak to an attorney before you issue any full statement to the police or insurance company. Make sure you cooperate, but do not accept any blame or fault for the incident.
The most important thing to remember is that the police officer always has the law on their side. They have the ability to make the traffic stop go as smoothly or as roughly as they desire. If they find you cooperative, they may let you slide with a warning. If you are belligerent and admit to doing 20 over the speed limit, they are most likely going to make your life miserable. In the end, it is important to remember: What you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Georgina Clatworthy is an experienced freelance writer and has written extensively about defenses to DUI and traffic violations. Drivers who find themselves facing charges for traffic violations in North Carolina may have limited knowledge of the state traffic laws. By taking legal advice from Bill Powers at Powers McCartan LLP, drivers can develop a greater understanding of state laws, as well as discover how their charges may be dismissed, amended or their penalties reduced.