8 Tips When Stopped By Police

When you are stopped by police at a DUI checkpoint, or stopped for any other reason, it is a good idea to follow some simple tips in order to help your encounter move along smoothly. The availability of cell phone video cameras is a great tool for law enforcement. But it is also tremendously helpful to citizens. The video posted below illustrates an apparently real police encounter, and it has made the viral rounds. It evidently aired on a television station in West Virginia.

I am not suggesting that the young man who made the video is correct in all of his statements regarding police behavior and the K-9 alert. I also don’t know if the K-9 officer was signalling to his dog to alert– that is a controversial subject. Before looking at the video, keep in mind some general principles when being stopped by the police:

Being Stopped By Police: 8 Tips To Remember

  1. Remain calm and polite.
  2. Keep your hands where the officer can see them.
  3. Provide your license and registration when asked.
  4. If the officer questions you, you can decline to answer.
  5. If the officer asks you to exit the vehicle, you should do so.
  6. If the officer asks you if you can perform field sobriety tests, you can decline to answer.
  7. If the officer pats you down, let him do so.
  8. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, you can decline.

The officer in this video asks the driver (in a somewhat belittling way) if he “knows his rights.” In my opinion, it’s never a good idea to volunteer that information, or to tell an officer what he or she can or cannot do. That’s just common sense. There is a real tension between law enforcement officers trying to do their job, and citizens who wish to assert their constitutional privileges. Check out the video here:

As the video also shows, none of this advice will prevent police from investigating you or searching your car if they choose to do so. But you do not have to speak to the police, and you are not required to waive your constitutional protections, and that includes their request to search your car. These rights are afforded to you by the Fifth and Fourth Amendments of the US Constitution.

If you are detained or arrested, you have the right to speak to an attorney before any questioning. This is a right provided by the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution.

I hope what I have shared is helpful.


For a free consultation about DUI and your rights, call the Law Offices of Thomas Briody at 401-7515151, or contact us here.