What Are Unlawful Stops?

Close up of a belt of law enforcement equipment

An unlawful stop is when a law enforcement officer does not follow protocol or has an invalid reason for stopping you. It's important to know your rights if you are ever in this situation, so you can take appropriate action. Shane Phelps Law can help discuss what an unlawful stop is and the reasons why an officer might have probable cause to pull you over. We will also provide some tips on what you can do if you believe that you have been subjected to an unlawful stop.

Explaining Probable Cause

When you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer, they must have probable cause to do so. Probable cause means that the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime, such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This suspicion must be based on facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a crime has been committed. Multiple factors may contribute to an officer having probable cause for a DWI, and some of these include:

  • Speeding
  • Swerving
  • Driving too slowly
  • Ignoring traffic stop signs and signals
  • Driving without headlights
  • Sudden slowing down or stopping for no reason

What You Should Do

If an officer does not have probable cause to pull you over, then the stop is considered to be unlawful. This means that the officer cannot search your vehicle or arrest you without a warrant. If you believe that you have been subjected to an unlawful stop, there are a few things that you can do:

  • Remain calm and polite
  • Ask the officer if you are free to go
  • Do not consent to a search of your vehicle or to taking field sobriety tests

If the officer does not establish probable cause to make an arrest, then they should let you go at the end of the stop. If the officer persists in detaining you, searching your vehicle, or conducting a field sobriety test then you can ask to speak with a supervisor. You can also file a complaint with the police department if you believe that you have been unlawfully stopped.

We Can Help You With Your Case

Unlawful stops can be a frustrating and even scary experience. However, it is important to know your rights in these situations. By remaining calm and polite, you can help to de-escalate the situation. However, if you are facing repercussions for your unlawful stop, it is crucial to seek legal representation. The team at Shane Phelps Law has what it takes to assess the details of your case and determine if protocols were properly followed. Contact us for a consultation and more information from a criminal defense attorney today.

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