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Matthew Radefeld & Dan Juengel
Matthew A. Radefeld and Daniel A. Juengel

Pulled over by the police? Understand your rights

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2021 | Criminal Law |

It can be a stressful time seeing those flashing red and blue lights. However, staying composed during this time is critical to navigating this police encounter. Before you try to resist, argue or interfere with the officer, you need to remember to stay calm. Even if you believe that you’ve done nothing wrong, the actions you take following this meeting are critical for you and your rights. 

To clear up the confusion surrounding police encounters, take the time to understand your rights and the actions you need to take when you are pulled over.

What do I need to know if I get arrested?

If you are pulled over, you can be searched, handcuffed, and taken to a police station for questioning and detention. However, before the police can arrest you, they need to advise you of your rights by providing you a Miranda warning. This warning means you do not have to answer their questions. Instead, you have a right to have a lawyer present during this questioning. However, if you waive your rights and begin speaking to the police, anything you say can be used against you. That is why many people choose to talk to an attorney first before talking about the incident in question. A lawyer can help you navigate the questions from the police and advise you on your options.

What do I do if the police want to go through my belongings? 

A police officer cannot search you or your belongings based on a rumor or a hunch. These searches must be directly related to the crime in which you are accused. You do not have to consent to these searches or allow the police officers to go through your electronics, including your cell phone. Many times, declining these searches and speaking to your lawyer first can be the best way to preserve your rights. 

Will I be treated as an adult if I get arrested?

According to Missouri’s criminal justice system, anyone 17 or older may be treated as an adult. If you are arrested by the police and put in jail, you may also be prosecuted as an adult. For these reasons, it is vital to understand your rights if you are ever pulled over to ensure that you receive fair treatment in the eyes of the law.