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Folsom is a vibrant city known for its rich history. But getting pulled over by police anywhere can be frightening, particularly if it’s the first time you’ve ever been stopped. Whether you’re a resident, visitor, or traveler passing through the city, knowing what to expect and how to react can help protect your rights and stay safe.

Being nervous and stressed is normal, even if you know you didn’t do anything wrong. However, being aware of your rights and responsibilities when stopped by police can equip you to handle the encounter more confidently.

If you feel your rights have been violated, don’t hesitate to contact a criminal defense attorney in Folsom right away.

What Are Your Responsibilities if Police Stop You?

Know what to expect and how to respond if you’re stopped by Folsom police. You have several responsibilities, including:

  • Remaining calm and polite – Be respectful and cooperative when interacting with officers.
  • Being truthful about your identity – Do not lie to the officer or present false documents such as a fake ID.
  • Presenting necessary documents –You’re required to provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance when requested.
  • Avoiding interference or obstruction – Stay out of the way if an officer is questioning or arresting someone else.
  • Consenting to a breath test – if you are placed under arrest for a DUI, you are required under CA law to provide either a breath or blood test. If you refuse, your license will be suspended. However, if you have been detained but not yet arrested you do have the right to decline to consent to a voluntary breath test while the police are investigating you for a DUI.
    • It generally is a smart idea to decline this preliminary alcohol screening test and you are not required by law to cooperate. The requirement to provide a blood or breath test under the law does not apply until after a police office has made the decision to arrest you for a DUI.

What Are Your Rights When Stopped by Police?

You may feel pressured by police to answer all their questions, especially if you’ve never interacted with law enforcement before. But although you have some responsibilities and should always be polite to police, you also have constitutional rights which you should exercise to avoid self-incrimination.

If stopped by police, you have the right to:

  • Remain silent – Although you must provide basic identifying information, you don’t have to answer other questions. Make sure you express verbally that you wish to remain silent and won’t answer further questions without a lawyer present.
  • Refuse searches – If the police officer asks to search you or your vehicle without a warrant, you can generally refuse.
  • Ask if you are free to leave — You can ask if you are under arrest, being detained, or free to leave. If they say yes and you have provided your documents, you are free to go.
  • An attorney– You can and should request an attorney to represent you if police arrest or attempt to interrogate you.

What If Police Violate Your Rights?

Federal civil rights statutes make it unlawful to deprive a citizen of their rights under color of law; this applies to federal, state, and local officials. If you think the police are violating your rights, remain calm and prioritize your safety to stop the situation from escalating. Do not resist or threaten anyone. An officer’s misconduct can be challenged in court, which could exclude any evidence they obtain from an illegal search or unlawful arrest.

You can document the incident by recording the interaction, which is legal in California. Then, you should contact a criminal defense attorney who can help you file a complaint and prevent further rights violations.

What to Do If Stopped in Your Car

If you’re stopped by police while driving, pull over in a safe location as soon as possible. Turn off your vehicle, roll down the window, and keep your hands on the wheel where the officer can plainly see them.

Produce your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance when asked. Avoid sudden movements and let the office know where you’ll need to reach to get your documents.

If the officer asks to search your car without a warrant, you can politely refuse. The officer may look through your windows for anything suspicious in plain view. If they believe they have probable cause or your vehicle contains evidence of a crime, they could search it anyway.

You may be asked where you’re coming from or headed next. However, you and your passengers don’t have to answer these questions and can ask if you’re free to leave.

What to Do If Stopped on Foot

If a police officer stops you on the street, don’t run or resist. Ask why you’ve been stopped, and keep your hands in plain sight at all times. Identify yourself and provide your ID when asked, but don’t answer other questions or lie about who you are.

Ask the officer if you are free to leave. If so, then slowly walk away. If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why and request an attorney immediately.

Arrested in Folsom? Call Walsh Law Today

Remembering these tips can help you keep your cool if you’re stopped by police in Folsom.

If you are arrested or believe your rights were violated after a run-in with police, you should immediately contact a lawyer who can protect you from self-incrimination. Walsh Law has years of experience successfully representing people like you who might have gotten caught up in a bad situation, and we’ll fight to protect your rights.

Call 916-237-8270 or contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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