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Different Types of Traffic Stops in Birmingham

Whether it is a stop at night or during broad daylight, there are many variations to how the traffic stop could proceed. Knowing what behaviors to avoid during a stop could make the interaction go smoother and minimize the risk of enhancing potential charges. A seasoned traffic attorney could advise you on the distinctions between the different types of traffic stops in Birmingham.

Stops at Night

Being pulled over at night is often challenging for everyone involved. While there is generally less traffic that could present a hazard at night, finding a suitable place to pull over that will be safe for the driver and officer may be more difficult in the dark. For everybody’s safety, it is advisable to find a well-lit area to pull over, particularly one with streetlights.

Drivers who are signaled to pull over on a curve, blind corner, or hill that obscures vision should drive a bit further along the road to allow traffic behind them to see the stopped vehicles and take appropriate action to avoid a collision. Additionally, drivers should ensure that they slow down and signal that they are going to pull over as soon as possible to ensure that the officer is aware of their intentions. Early signaling and compliance could help the officer understand that the driver is not attempting to flee or elude law enforcement.

During many different types of traffic stops in Birmingham such as a nighttime stop, it is advisable to roll down the window prior to the officer’s arrival so they can see inside the vehicle as they approach. This is especially true if the windows have any sort of tint or would otherwise obscure the officer’s vision of the driver and their activity. Drivers should place their hands on the steering wheel to demonstrate that they are not doing anything that may be perceived as a threat.

If a driver reaches for something in the car that the officer does not see, they may assume that the driver is reaching for a weapon with intent to harm, and the police may then treat the driver in a hostile manner. Police may also believe that the driver is then trying to hide something before they come to the window, leading to greater suspicion and potentially extra investigation, regardless of the type of traffic stop in Birmingham.

Key Things to Remember During a Traffic Stop in Birmingham

One of the most important things to remember during all the different types of traffic stops is to never get out of the vehicle unless the officer gives instructions to do so. Leaving the car without orders from law enforcement could lead the officer to believe that they are about to be assaulted.

It is also essential that the driver act with respect to the officer conducting the stop. If the officer feels disrespected, they may be put on edge and feel that conflict is imminent. It is a best practice to be respectful, if not friendly.

Another key element to remember is that a driver has a fifth amendment right to remain silent to remain free of self-incrimination. The investigating officer will likely ask several questions of the driver, but there is absolutely no obligation to answer or do anything beyond give their license, registration, and proof of insurance. It is important to not answer any questions from the police without a lawyer present.

In a standard traffic stop, a ticket will be issued, and the driver sent on their way. However, if the officer has reason to believe that another crime has been committed, they may ask permission to search a person’s vehicle. It may be wise for a driver to withhold consent for a search of their vehicle.  Officers usually will not ask for consent unless they know they don’t otherwise have probable cause to do a search.  If an officer does have probable cause then will conduct the search regardless of a person’s consent.

Plainclothes Traffic Stops in Birmingham

One of the rarest of the different types of traffic stops in Birmingham is a traffic stop conducted by a plainclothes police officer in an unmarked police cruiser. It is important to know that there is no risk of a fleeing or eluding charge for unmarked police vehicles. Drivers should call 911 to verify that they are being pulled over by a real police officer.

It may also be wise to simply drive to the nearest police department or station. Once there, it can be ascertained whether the pursuing vehicle is a real officer. Officers are also obliged to give a badge number on request unless they are undercover and given special permission to obscure their identity.

A Lawyer May be Able to Help Explain Various Forms of Traffic Stops

There are many different types of traffic stops in Birmingham and it is important to know how different circumstances may require different actions. It is essential to always act in a manner that is respectful to prevent enhanced charges, but it is also important to protect your rights. Call a lawyer today to help you understand the differences in these types of investigations and learn how you can ensure that your case is treated properly.