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Written by Attorney Seth Morris


If you have been pulled over by law enforcement in California, you may have serious concerns regarding what will happen next. When you do not know your rights, you are at an increased risk of being taken advantage of and charged criminally.

If you hope to protect yourself, make sure you know what to do and your rights. Our criminal lawyers in Oakland, CA can help. Call today at 510-999-8414to schedule a free initial consultation, or continue reading.

What Are Your Rights When Pulled Over By Police?

When police have pulled you over, you have certain rights protected by the U.S. Constitution, without regard to your citizenship or immigration status. Some of these rights include:

  • The right to refuse consent of your car, home, or yourself
  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to a lawyer if you are placed under arrest
  • If you are not placed under arrest, you have the right to leave

What Are Your Responsibilities to the Police Officer?

During a police stop, you have specific responsibilities you must adhere to in your interactions with law enforcement officials. This includes:

  • Telling the truth
  • Remaining polite and calm
  • Not interfering with police investigations
  • Not obstructing the police
  • Not providing the police with false identification documentation or other records

What Should You Do if You’re Pulled Over?

When you are stopped, you may be unsure of your next steps.

Remain Calm

Remain calm and keep your hands where police can see them at all times. Once you have been pulled over, you will need to provide the police with a copy of your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration.

Exercise Your Rights

You have the right to ask the police if you can leave. Unless you are under arrest, you should be free to do so. However, if you are being placed under arrest, you have the right to know why. However, it is equally as important that you remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you by law enforcement at trial. Make sure you tell police that you are going to exercise your right to remain silent.

At no point should you give police the authority to search your vehicle. Unless they have probable cause or a warrant to do so, anything obtained during an unlawful search can be dismissed at trial.

Avoid Impoundment & Towing Fees

If you are being placed under arrest, you should also ask law enforcement if you can have your passenger or another licensed driver move your car to a safe location so you can avoid the costs of impoundment and towing fees.

What Should You Not Do When Pulled Over?

While there are certain steps you should take when you are pulled over, it is important to note that there are specific things you should not do when stopped by police, such as:

  • Refuse to sign your ticket
  • Resist arrest
  • Obstruct the police
  • Accuse the police of violating your rights
  • Run from police
  • Argue with police
  • Be disrespectful to police
  • Resist a pat-down search
  • Forget your rights
  • Lie
  • Withhold your driver’s license, insurance information, or a vehicle registration
  • Bribe law enforcement

You must handle your police stop and arrest appropriately to avoid additional trouble that could significantly impact your life.

If you are taken into custody, remain calm. When you are allowed to make a phone call, reach out to your criminal defense lawyer for help as soon as possible. We can help you arrange your bail and begin analyzing the details of your case to determine how to best approach your defense strategy.

Meet With a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you believe your rights were violated when you were pulled over by law enforcement, or if you are facing criminal charges following a stop and are unsure where to turn for help, reach out to a respected California criminal defense lawyer at Morris Law.

Schedule your confidential case evaluation today when you call our office or complete our secured contact form.