Know Your Rights: What to Do If You Get Pulled Over in Arizona
Getting pulled over by the police can be a stressful experience for anyone. However, knowing how to handle a traffic stop can help ensure a safe and smooth interaction with law enforcement. Let’s explore your rights and what you should do if you ever get pulled over in Arizona.
What to Do When You Get Pulled Over in Arizona
1: Pull Over Safely
When you see the flashing lights of a police car behind you, the first thing you should do is pull over safely and promptly. Turn on your hazard lights to acknowledge the officer’s signal to pull over. Then slow down and look for a safe place to pull over on the right side of the road, stop, and turn off your engine.
2: Stay Calm
Police officers don’t know what they’re walking into when they pull you over, so it’s important to avoid making any sudden movements. Don’t search your car for license and registration until the officer says so. Stay calm, lower your window, place your hands on the steering wheel, and wait for instructions. If you get pulled over at night, make sure to turn on your interior lights.
3: Be Respectful
You should also remain respectful throughout a traffic stop, even if you believe you didn’t break any laws. Being hostile or argumentative can escalate the situation and impact your case if you end up getting arrested.
4: Provide Your Information
In Arizona, you are legally required to provide your ID and proof of car insurance to a police officer. But you should not produce them until the officer asks for them. If you search your vehicle or bag beforehand, the officer may assume you are reaching for a weapon.
5: Know Your Rights
It’s crucial that you know your rights when you get pulled over so you know whether or not they’re being violated. Here are some of the rights you can invoke when you get pulled over.
You have the right to refuse a search of your vehicle.
Police officers cannot search your vehicle without your consent unless there’s evidence of drugs or weapons. Police officers also cannot search your phone without a warrant, even if you are pulled over for using your cell phone while driving.
You have the right to remain silent.
You do not have to answer any questions the officer asks. When an officer asks for your ID and insurance, you must comply, but you don’t have to speak. You don’t have to say where you were going, what you were doing, why you don’t want to answer questions, whether you’re a U.S. citizen, etc. If you do decide to answer questions, however, you should always answer calmly, respectfully, and honestly.
You have the right to an attorney.
If you are arrested during a traffic stop, make sure to ask for an attorney immediately. Do not answer any questions until your attorney arrives.
You have the right to refuse a sobriety test.
Unless the officer has a search warrant, you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. However, there are ramifications if you refuse a breathalyzer, blood tests, and chemical tests when pulled over for a suspected DUI. You can politely tell the officer that you will only perform the tests after speaking with an attorney, but if you cannot reach an attorney you will still need to provide an answer to the officer. Some police officers do not provide much of an opportunity to respond to the request before they deem your response, or lack thereof, as a refusal.
There are a few things to consider before you refuse a DUI test:
- Your driver’s license will be suspended for a year after the first refusal, and two years after a second refusal within a seven-year period.
- The officer can obtain a search warrant for a blood, breath, or chemical test after your refusal.
- Your refusal can be admitted as evidence in a DUI trial.
- A police officer can still arrest you for a DUI without a test if they have evidence of probable cause for impaired driving.
Civil Traffic Lawyer in Scottsdale, Arizona
If you are issued a ticket or citation, or are arrested during a traffic stop, it’s important to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. The Van Norman Law team has nearly 30 years of experience handling civil traffic and DUI cases, and will fight for the best outcome for your case. Give us a call at 480-481-0616 today to schedule a free consultation.