Better Call Jackson

Do you know your rights during a traffic stop?

A recent survey showed more than 64 percent of motorists have a bit of anxiety when they are pulled over by police. Of that group, about 30 percent say they are afraid.

In most cases, people simply don't know what to do.

Sgt. Dean Washington of the Columbus Division of police says, "Every officer wants to go home at night just like the driver wants to go home at night. And if you listen to what the officer has to say and be compliant and he'll  get you on your way in due time." 

No sudden moves and display your hands at all times to show you are not a threat to the officer.

Complying with the officer is the best thing for motorists to reduce tension, but you do have rights.

"There's no need to respond in a disrespectful way. You can assert those rights and just simply say, I'm not going to answer those questions," says Sarah Schregadus, a local defense attorney.

She says the only thing you are required to answer during a roadside stop is, your identification. Schregadus says the biggest mistake most people make during a stop is taking too much.

"Trying to convince the officer that the reason they were speeding was necessary because a loved one is sick for whatever reason," says Schregadus.

You are admitting to a crime, in which the officer might not have planned on issuing a ticket.

"Remember, we're human beings and sometimes emotions get the best of us but we try to be as professional as possible and talking yourself into trouble sometimes does happen", says Sgt. Worthington.

What about a vehicle search?

"If you say, no, he can't search and at that point, if it turns out that he inappropriately or improperly searched your car, those issues can be raised later in court," says Schregadus.

Even if you know an officer has made a mistake in the traffic stop, the side of a road is not the best place to make your point. Schregadus cannot stress enough., the court is the best place for you to present your side.


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