Stirling & O'Connell

What you should not do if you are pulled over

Being pulled over in South Carolina on suspicion of DUI can be a scary or even angering event, which is why anyone in this position should maintain calm if a police officer signals them to stop. There are any number of things you might think of to try to get out of the situation, but just about all of them will make things worse and could add criminal charges on top of a DUI arrest or traffic ticket.

Cheatsheet explains that drivers should be careful what to say to police. The best approach is to remain silent except to answer the appropriate questions from the officer. Do not try to threaten the officer or make any implications that something bad might happen unless the officer lets you go. Remember that an officer is on guard for any sign of an impending threat, so an improper action or suggestion of ill will on your part could escalate the situation needlessly.

It is also unwise to come up with excuses for speeding, strange driving or other traffic violations. Saying your navigation system was giving you bad directions will likely not impress an officer. Suggesting that you can pay the officer to let you leave without a ticket or arrest only opens you up to criminal charges of bribery. Arguing with an officer about the accuracy of a radar gun reading that showed you were speeding will also likely delay matters. Your better bet is to contest the rationale for a ticket or an arrest in court.

Movements and actions may also cause an officer to take further action against you. As FindLaw points out, a police officer might decide to search your vehicle if there is probable cause to do so. Some officers will conduct a search if a driver is moving around in the vehicle strangely, which could appear to the officer that the driver is trying to hide something. Drivers should also refrain from giving an officer explicit permission to search their vehicle, as an officer may have no reason to do so in the first place.

It is also a bad idea to get out of your vehicle without being told to do so. You might think you are just stepping out to chat pleasantly to the police officer, but the officer does not know that. The police are trained to react to people who might attempt to flee a scene or try to fight. Drivers are better off staying in their vehicle until or unless the officer says to do so. If you are told to get out, proceed calmly without abrupt movement.

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