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Birmingham Traffic Stops

Traffic offenses usually result from a traffic stop performed by police. Traffic stops may be scary and make you nervous but knowing what to expect before it happens could help make the police encounter go as smoothly as possible. Police interaction during Birmingham traffic stops is multi-faceted and when encountering the police it’s often helpful to remember that police officers may feel threatened if you behave inappropriately, leading to complications and possible enhancement of the charges. If you have are unsure how to act during a traffic stop or have been issued a ticket, a seasoned traffic attorney may be able to help.

The Traffic Stop-Process

The police will initiate a traffic stop, and pull you over because they have observed some form of traffic violation, have reasonable suspicion that a more serious crime was committed, or they are investigating another unrelated crime. Your top priority during a traffic stop should be to demonstrate to the investigating officer that the stop is going to be safe and that no other criminal activity occurring.

Once the stop is initiated, the officer will make contact with the driver to ask for vehicle documents to confirm that the vehicle and the driver are legally compliant. These documents include the driver’s license, the vehicle’s state registration, and the proof of insurance. Aside from these three items, a driver does not need to give any information whatsoever to the officer executing a traffic stop in Birmingham. An experienced traffic attorney would likely advise against saying anything at all that is not necessary during the stop.

The officer may try to elicit more information from the driver, including an admission of guilt, hence the question “do you know why you were stopped?”  Upon finishing with this roadside investigation, they will return to their vehicle and run a background check to make sure that the license, registration, and proof of insurance are all valid. It is important to say nothing more than necessary without a lawyer present.  This rule of thumb will help you to avoid self-incrimination or providing information leading to probable cause for the officer to make an arrest.  After running the necessary checks, the officer will begin to write a ticket for the offense that necessitated the traffic stop.

Outstanding Warrants or Offenses During Birmingham Traffic Stops

Officers will always run a driver’s name and license through their computer database to determine if there are any outstanding warrants for arrest or prior offenses. The officer will notify the individual of any potential warrants or simply arrest that individual on the outstanding warrant. After an arrest, it is absolutely essential to retain legal counsel to ensure that a person’s rights are protected. If the background check is completed and there is no further reason for investigation or arrest, the officer will return to the driver, issue the ticket, and send the driver on their way.

Components to Pulling Over

With a traffic stop, drivers should always endeavor to pull over into a safe area for themselves and for the police officer. There are few occasions where people are pretending to be police officers and have taken advantage of that situation. Therefore, people want to make sure that they are pulling over to a place where they are going to feel safe and protected. A highly visible in public is often best.

Generally, a driver should find a place to pull over and stop within the first 30 to 60 seconds. It is wise to ensure that the location a driver pulls over is safe for the officer. Officers usually appreciate any consideration of their safety, but drivers are not required to do anything apart from pulling over immediately where they are.  If the officer feels the situation is not safe, then he or she may order the driver to continue driving into a nearby parking lot or another safe area.

When a driver is looking for a safe place to pull over, they could indicate their intention to comply with the police officer with their turn signal as soon as they notice the police lights. Drivers should also apply their brakes, slow down, and begin to look for a safe place to pull over. If the officer knows that the person has noticed them and is not accelerating or trying to avoid them in any way, the officer may accept them taking a little bit of time to find a safe area to pull over for their traffic stop in Birmingham.

A Lawyer Could Give Advice on Handling Traffic Stops

People in Birmingham get pulled over for traffic violations every day so all drivers should know how to behave during a Birmingham traffic stop. It is important to remember that you have rights during a traffic stop and are not necessarily required to answer every one of an officer’s inquiries. If you have further questions or concerns, call a local criminal defense attorney today to learn how to handle a traffic stop correctly.