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stopped by police - know your rights

Your Rights When the Police Pull You Over

Know your rights when you’ve been stopped by the Police

If you have ever been pulled over, you know how intimidating the moment can be. The officer might give you instructions, ask questions, and generally make you feel like you have no choices. The good news is that you do have rights when the police stop your vehicle. Understanding these rights can help you protect yourself.

You Don’t Have to Answer Questions

You have the right to remain silent when you are pulled over. When a police officer asks whether you’ve had anything to drink, asks if you are in a hurry, or other questions that may even seem polite, you may choose not to answer those questions. Know that he or she may use your answers against you. You should be polite and respectful, but you do not have to give answers when they ask.

You May Have to Take a Blood Alcohol Test

If the officer suspects you have been drinking, Wisconsin law requires you to take a breath or blood test. This might be frustrating, but the penalties for refusing the test can sometimes be more severe than a DUI conviction would be. If there is a smell of alcohol on your breath or other indication that you have been drinking, do not try to refuse the test.

A Vehicle Search Requires Probable Cause

You do not have to consent to a search of your vehicle. If an officer searches your vehicle, anything found may be thrown out unless he or she had a valid reason to search it. This can include drug paraphernalia visible in the car or an outstanding warrant.

Racial Profiling Is Illegal

If you feel you are stopped because of your race, remain polite and respectful. At the same time, you should request the officer’s name and badge number so you can report it. If there is a witness, make sure you can reach that person to support your information.

You don’t abandon your rights during traffic stops. If you were pulled over and need legal help, contact Eisenberg Law Offices online or at (608)256-8356.