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Motor Vehicle Accident

What To Do if You Get Pulled Over by the Police in Louisiana

By March 27, 2024April 11th, 2024No Comments

Seeing red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror is always a nerve-wracking experience for any driver. Unfortunately, in the United States, such encounters with law enforcement have, at times, resulted in distressing displays of police aggression and misuse of authority.

When interacting with police in Louisiana, it’s crucial to know your rights. 

Our Baton Rouge personal injury and criminal defense lawyers at Pierce & Shows have extensive experience in assisting clients navigate these types of encounters

In this blog post, attorneys Christopher Shows, Peter Dudley, and Brian Edwards aim to provide guidance on what to do if you find yourself being pulled over by the police in Louisiana.

What To Do When You Get Pulled Over in Baton Rouge

Police may stop you for numerous reasons, but you might not know why you are being pulled over when it happens.

Common Reasons Why Police Might Pull You Over

It’s vital to understand the common reasons why police might pull you over to ensure you’re prepared in case you find yourself in such a situation. 

Here are some of the most frequent reasons you might be pulled over by police in Baton Rouge:

  1. Speeding
  2. Equipment Violations
  3. Improper Lane Changes
  4. Driving Under Influence (DUI)
  5. Tailgating
  6. Cellphone Use

Remember, regardless of the reason, police officers must have a valid suspicion of a traffic violation or criminal activity involving you or your vehicle. Random stops or hunches are not permissible under the law.

No matter what, you should, as soon as possible, pull over to a safe location on the side of the road.

Once pulled over, you should do the following: 

  • Roll down your window slowly
  • Have all documents ready, such as your license, proof of insurance, and registration.
  • Avoid any actions that the officer might perceive as threatening, such as exiting your vehicle or reaching for items while the officer is beside your vehicle without their permission.

The best practice is to remain in your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened and your hands visible to the officer. Additionally, consider turning off your car and placing the keys on the dashboard or in another visible location for the officer.

These seemingly minor actions demonstrate your willingness to cooperate, listen, and comply, reassuring the officer that you have no intention of causing harm or fleeing the scene.

Talking to the Police

When being pulled over, you must be prepared to respond to the police officer’s question. During a traffic stop in the state of Louisiana, law enforcement officers have the right to:

  • Ask for your legal documentation such as driver’s license, proof of insurance, vehicle registration
  • Search your car if the officer has probable cause (i.e., believes you could be hiding a weapon, drugs, or drug paraphernalia), has a valid search warrant, or if you have given consent
  • Conduct a breathalyzer test if they are reasonably suspicious you have been driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Ask you to step out of your vehicle (but remember not to get out of your car unless asked)

A police officer does not have the right to:

  • Refuse to show their name, ID, or badge number
  • Search your vehicle without consent, a valid search warrant, reasonable suspicion, and/or probable cause
  • Arrest you for refusing to consent to a search

Your Rights When Getting Pulled Over

Knowing your rights when being pulled over by an officer is essential.

During a traffic stop, you have the right to ask these questions and take these actions:

  • If a police officer stops you in plain clothes, you can ask for proper identification.
  • You can ask for clarification on why you have been pulled over.
  • You can request the police officer to move to an area with better lighting or where more people are present.
  • You can assert, “I do not consent to this search,” if they decide to search your vehicle, ensuring it is known and can be used in your defense later if needed.
  • If you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent and wait to answer any questions until you have legal representation and a lawyer to strategize for your criminal defense.

Contact Pierce & Shows Criminal Defense Attorney in Louisiana Today

Being pulled over by the police can undoubtedly evoke feelings of nervousness, fear, or embarrassment. However, it’s crucial to maintain composure during such encounters, especially in Louisiana. You can take steps to ensure a smooth traffic stop while safeguarding your legal rights.

If you’ve experienced a traffic stop that didn’t unfold as it should have, rest assured that our firm in Baton Rouge has the wealth of experience to support you in protecting your rights. Contact us at Pierce & Shows today for more information and assistance.

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