Getting pulled over by the police for a traffic stop can be a disconcerting experience for every passenger in the vehicle. But it's important to understand that if you're not the one behind the wheel, you have some unique rights that you are legally allowed to exercise. The traffic lawyers and defense attorneys of The Walker Firm serve clients throughout the Warner Robins, GA, area; below, their attorneys discuss three rights all passengers have during routine traffic stops.
3 Rights All Passengers Have During Traffic Stops
1. You Can Leave The Scene If You Aren't Being Charged
If the police are not charging you with a crime, you have the right to leave the scene of the traffic stop. Much of this hinges on you, as a passenger, not acting in a suspicious way that raises law enforcement concerns. The most effective way to handle this scenario is simply to ask the officer if you are being detained and if you are free to go.
2. You Can Refuse Search Requests
Many people mistakenly believe that they must submit to a police officer's request to search. In reality, you have every right to refuse to be searched. But be aware that by choosing this option, you may raise an officer's suspicion and be detained for further questioning or investigation, a situation in which you would benefit from the advice of a skilled lawyer.
3. You Always Have The Right To Remain Silent
If you are a passenger in a vehicle that has been stopped by police for a traffic infraction, you have the same rights as anyone else in the nation; the right to remain silent is one of those options. You are not obligated to answer an officer's questions, and you don't need to state anything other than your refusal to be questioned and your desire to contact a lawyer. After you contact your defense attorney, they will help you work out a legal strategy and the next steps in the process.
Contact The Walker Firm to arrange a consultation with a defense attorney. Call (478) 923-4152 to schedule, or visit them on Facebook or Google+ for more information on relevant topics and to learn more about their attorneys. By remembering your rights as a passenger, you can make informed decisions that protect yourself and safeguard your best interests.