The sound of sirens and flashing blue and red lights behind you are never a good sign. Sometimes, when you are pulled over by the police you know the exact reason. Other times, however, you might feel as if they had no reason to pull you over at all. As a driver in Michigan, it is important to understand your rights as they relate to interactions with law enforcement.
If you have recently been pulled over and feel your rights were violated, the best thing you can do is contact a trusted attorney for knowledgeable legal counsel. The Michigan Legal Center is a trusted source of representation for civil rights cases. Here, we will discuss when police are allowed to pull you over and what you should do if you ever find yourself in the custody of law enforcement without reason.
Do the Police Need a Reason to Pull You Over?
According to the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, all people have the right to be free from unreasonable searches. When it comes to traffic stops, this means that the police officer must have a viable reason to stop you. The Michigan State Constitution also protects your rights according to Mich Const 1963, art 1, § 11. Unfortunately, the law does not outline a clear definition for what is considered an unconstitutional stop. This makes it easier for law enforcement to pull you over without a good reason but that doesn’t mean it’s legal.
What are Common Reasons Cops Pull You Over?
Although the law does not give concrete reasons the police cannot pull you over, there are plenty of reasons outlined why they can. Understanding why the police can pull you over in Michigan is the first step to understanding your rights. Common traffic violations police use to pull people over include:
- Failure to use a turn signal
- Failure to break
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Expired registration
- Missing headlight
- Missing mirrors
- Unlawfully passing
- Driving in the left lane too long
Once the police have established reasonable cause to pull you over, you can receive a citation or criminal charge for a serious violation. For example, if the police see drugs or alcohol in plain sight, you can be charged with possession or DUI. Additional reasons the police can pull you over include if there is a warrant out for your arrest or if they suspect you were involved in a recent crime.
What Should You Do if Police Pull You Over?
Any time you are pulled over by the police it is in your best interest to comply with their directions. Disobeying a police officer, arguing, or becoming combative is a quick way to obtain additional charges. Some tips for how to act if you are pulled over is to remain calm and be courteous. Remember, you have the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. Additionally, you do not have to consent to a search of your vehicle, even if they try to coerce you into it. The best thing you can do is do as you are asked, provide the bare minimum information, and call an attorney as soon as possible.
Experienced Civil Rights Attorneys In Michigan Fight For You
All Michigan residents should have full protection of their civil rights under the law. If you or someone you know believes police have violated your civil rights, we can help defend those rights. You have rights according to the law, and if those rights are not provided to you, you have a viable case against law enforcement.
If you’ve been the victim of any kind of police misconduct, consult the attorneys at the Michigan Legal Center. We specialize in protecting our clients from illegal and improper searches, and with more than 20 years of experience and more than $200 million worth of legal cases, we’re here to defend the residents of Michigan. Call 1-800-961-8447 for your free consultation.