Many Missouri residents are familiar with the unsettling sight of flashing police lights in their rear-view mirror. The strict questioning that often follows a traffic stop can unsettle drivers — especially otherwise law-abiding citizens. It’s common for people to not know what they can and cannot do when pulled over by law enforcement.
The attorneys and criminal defense lawyers at Deputy & Mizell are here to inform you of your rights as a citizen and the options you have when interacting with the police officer who stops you.
What To Do If Pulled Over By Police In Missouri
Missouri motorists flagged by a patrol car should follow these tips and be aware of Missouri rights:
- Drive until you can find a safe location (ideally a well-lit public lot) and cut your engine.
- If it is nighttime, turn on your car’s interior lights and roll down your window.
- Place both hands on the wheel where the police officer can see them. Do not make any sudden moves.
- Show your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance if requested.
- If your documents are in your glove box, let the officer know, and gather them at his or her instruction.
- If there is a weapon in your glove box, inform the officer and ask him or her how to proceed.
- You can refuse if the officer asks to look around your vehicle.
- If the officer believes your vehicle contains evidence of a crime, they CAN search your car without consent.
- You and your passengers may remain silent.
- Passengers may be free to leave, but should always ask the officer first.
- You can protest an illegal stop or dispute a criminal charge with the help of a criminal defense attorney.
What To Do If Arrested During A Traffic Stop In Missouri
If a law enforcement officer arrests you during a traffic stop, you can tell them you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer. You do not have to say anything further and do not have to explain. Do not sign anything without an attorney present. For help making the best decisions for your case, you should obtain a lawyer as soon as possible. The criminal defense attorneys at Deputy & Mizell have a vast knowledge of Missourians’ rights and will work to protect yours and preserve your name.
If arrested, you have a right to make a phone call and the police cannot listen to a call with your attorney. They can, however, listen to and record calls made to other people, so be mindful of what you say if you call friends or family.
Can I Record A Traffic Stop In Missouri?
If you are in a public space and you do not interfere with police officers at work, you have a First Amendment right to observe and record events using a phone or similar device. Do not obstruct police at work and do not hide your camera. Police officers do not have a right to privacy while working in public. Furthermore, the law requires police to obtain a warrant to view or confiscate your photos and videos. Any arrest or confiscation for recording a police interaction is unlawful.
If police take your recording device or arrest you, document as much as possible, including officers’ names, badge numbers, and agency names. Remain silent, and call our criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible.
Missouri Criminal Defense Lawyers
The criminal defense attorneys at Deputy & Mizell represent Missouri residents who have had difficulties during traffic stops. Our extensive background in traffic cases has given us valuable insight and has allowed us to develop effective strategies to protect your rights. Contact us today so we can evaluate your situation and begin your case!