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What are your rights during a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2021 | Blog, Criminal Defense

Traffic stops are a routine but often dreaded part of life. Police officers in Michigan are tasked with many facets of traffic control duties, including monitoring for impaired drivers and those traveling at dangerously excessive speeds. Regardless of the reason for a traffic stop, drivers should keep their general rights in mind during a traffic stop.

Routine traffic stops

Police officers may set up sobriety checkpoints and are permitted to stop consecutive drivers in a line of traffic, or they may select random vehicle. Other routine traffic stops include safety violations or simple notifications, such as taillight or tag light malfunction. During any of these routine traffic stops, drivers must comply with some basic rules of engagement. For example, drivers must:

  • Provide a valid driver’s license
  • Display proof of auto insurance
  • Produce current vehicle registration

Ideally, these routine traffic stops are fast and relatively painless. Targeted traffic stops may be a different scenario, but drivers have basic rights during these events.

Targeted or criminal traffic stops

Drivers who have been involved in an accident or stopped by the police for evident or suspected criminal activity have more at stake. Criminal defense attorneys would advise drivers to know their rights when stopped by the police and to not misbehave or make poor decisions. During these stressful moments, drivers are able to protect themselves in a number of ways and should remember that they:

  • Have the right to remain silent
  • Do not have to permit a search of their person
  • Are not required to allow a search of their vehicle

Legal support after a traffic accident or traffic stop may be necessary. Fines, penalties and even license suspension are costly results of some traffic stops, so getting an attorney’s advice is recommended.