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What To Do At A Traffic Stop

January 25, 2022

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Early in November, a Pennsylvania man was pulled over in Delaware for a routine traffic stop for having illegal tinted windows. After pulling him over, troopers found there was a warrant out for his arrest, and his vehicle was searched. After the search was conducted, police found 31.46 grams of marijuana and a firearm inside of the vehicle.

Due to the arrest warrant, there was little the man could do in this case to protect himself during the stop. For anyone else though, it is important to know there are several ways to protect yourself, so a routine traffic stop does not turn into something more.

Pull Over as Soon as Possible

As soon as possible after you hear the sirens and see the flashing lights behind you, you must pull over. If it is not safe to pull over immediately, turn on your hazard lights to indicate to the police that you plan to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. Otherwise, you may be charged with fleeing from the police.

After you have stopped, do not do anything other than unroll your window. The officer will ask you for your driver’s license, insurance, and registration, but do not reach or look for these until the officer asks. If you do, the officer may think you are reaching for a weapon, which will make the rest of the stop much more difficult.

Answering Questions

You should answer certain questions the officer asks you, such as your name. However, you do not have to answer any question that may incriminate you. For example, if the officer suspects you of DUI, they may ask you how much you have had to drink. You are under no obligation to tell them. For the most part, it is generally wise not to say anything at all. If you do, you may say something that will be used against you in the future.

A Search of Your Vehicle

The police officer that pulls you over may ask for your permission to search the vehicle. Do not consent. Police can only search your vehicle if they have your consent, have probable cause, or have a search warrant. If they search your vehicle when they do not meet these requirements, the search is illegal and any evidence obtained against you will be thrown out and considered inadmissible in your case.


If the officer suspects you of a DUI, they may ask you to submit to either a chemical test or a field sobriety test. You are not required to submit to a field sobriety test and there are no consequences for refusing. However, the law does require you to submit to a chemical test, such as a breath, blood, or urine test. If you refuse, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended.

Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Allentown Today

If you have been pulled over and charged or arrested with a crime, our Allentown criminal defense lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim can help with your case. Our experienced attorneys have helped many clients beat their charges, and we want to put that experience to work for you. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.



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