What Are My Rights Part 2
Many people do not know precisely what their rights are when it comes to encounters with law enforcement. What should you do if you are approached on the street? What if it’s in your car? What happens if you are arrested? In this second article we will discuss the dos and don’ts of being stopped in your car, what you are required to do, and what law enforcement officers are allowed to do.
When you are stopped, be sure to keep your hands where the officer can see them. You are required to produce documents of license and registration and proof of insurance if asked for them. As discussed in part one, the officers may ask you questions, and may even have you and your passengers step out of the car and separate you to ask the questions, but no one has to say anything. Most importantly the police cannot search your car without your consent, unless they have probable cause to believe you were involved in a crime, or there is evidence of a crime in your car. Your refusal to allow a search of your car cannot be taken as a basis for suspicion.
Let’s talk a little about WHY you were pulled over. If you were not speeding too badly it is probably just a civil citation. However if any of the following conditions existed, you could be facing a class 3 misdemeanor. A) Driving at speeds exceeding 85 mph anywhere in the state could land you a criminal speeding ticket or B) Driving over 35mph approaching a school crossing or C) exceeding the posted speed limit by 20mph or if no speed limit is posted exceeding 45mph.
The criminal speeding offense carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and up to a $500 dollar fine. Licenses can also be suspended, points against license, driving school, and other penalties as imposed by the MVD.