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How to Handle a Traffic Stop: A Guide to Interactions with Illinois Police

Posted on in Criminal Law

McHenry County criminal defense lawyerPolice interactions can make many people incredibly nervous – even if they have done nothing wrong. This may be a result of the many instances of police brutality that can be seen on the news or for more personal reasons. However, interacting with the police does not have to be a stressful ordeal. If you are ever stopped by police, it is important that you treat the officers with respect while simultaneously protecting your own rights. You should know how to safely interact with police and what to do if you have been arrested and accused of a crime.  

Do Not Give Police Officers a Reason to Be on the Defensive  

Police officers risk their lives every day in the course of their duties. Many officers have had co-workers or friends who have been injured or even killed while performing routine responsibilities such as traffic stops. One way you can make your police interaction less stressful for all parties involved is by following certain procedures designed to keep you and the officer safe. If you are pulled over by police, make sure you do the following: 

  • Keep your hands where officers can see them and do not make sudden or unexpected movements.

  • Stay in the vehicle unless told to exit.

  • Avoid aggressive or disrespectful language. 

  • Never continue driving when being pulled over or try to outrun the police. Fleeing or evading police is against Illinois law and can lead to criminal charges.   

Freedom From Unreasonable Searches and the Right to Remain Silent 

Police cannot search a vehicle without a reason for doing so. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives citizens the right to be free from unreasonable and unlawful searches. However, many people give up this right when they give police officers consent to search their vehicle. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, you have the right to decline. Calmly tell the officer, “I do not consent to a search.” The officer may search the vehicle anyway, but if it is later found that he or she did not have probable cause for doing so, any evidence obtained in the search will likely be suppressed.

It is also important to exercise your right to remain silent when dealing with the police. If the officer asks you questions, such as, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”, say no and do not offer any additional information. Lastly, if you do get arrested, immediately ask for a lawyer. Do not answer any questions from the police or anyone else without an attorney present.  

Contact a McHenry County Criminal Attorney  

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime following a traffic stop, contact an experienced Crystal Lake traffic violations lawyer from Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC for assistance. We have vast experience in helping clients obtain favorable results in all types of criminal cases. To schedule a cost-free, confidential consultation, call us at 815-338-3838 today.






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