With a flash of blue lights and a quick burst of the siren, a traffic stop can make anyone feel anxious and nervous. Despite this, Georgia drivers must try to remain calm and collected. Losing one’s cool can inadvertently lead to giving up one’s rights and escalating the situation.
Many drivers may not realize they have several unalienable rights during a traffic stop. Below, Georgia drivers can find a list of the laws that protect them while working with police. Understanding these will help diffuse a situation and preserve an individual’s legal protections.
An individual’s rights when working with police
When pulled over in Georgia, remember the following guidelines when dealing with police:
- Stay calm: Being questioned by police is stressful. Drivers who keep a clear head and focus on their rights stand a better chance of moving on with their day.
- Show license and registration: When stopped in a car, drivers must produce their license, registration and proof of insurance.
- Refuse a search: Police cannot search a vehicle without probable cause, which means a strong, unbiased and factual reason for believing a crime occurred. Do not consent to a search.
- Remain silent: Every Georgian has the right to remain silent when stopped by police. Individuals should tell the officer they wish to exercise their rights. No matter what the officer says, citizens do not have to answer any questions or even provide their name.
- Sign the ticket: If the officer issues a citation for a traffic violation, sign the ticket. A ticket means a violation of the law has occurred. By signing, one agrees to the court date listed on the citation. Officers might arrest those who refuse to sign.
- Ask to leave: Police cannot keep people pulled over forever. An officer must issue a citation, detain someone or make an arrest. If a cop delays a resolution, they are likely trying to agitate the person pulled over and escalate the situation.
If the officer makes an arrest, ask why then ask for a lawyer. The cops must disclose the reason for the request and provide access to a lawyer immediately.
Secure legal defense
Georgia drivers facing criminal charges from a traffic stop can contact a local lawyer familiar with criminal defense. An attorney will assess one’s case, fight to hold officers accountable for unlawful search and seizure and build a defense plan.