Serious criminal charges often stem from a simple traffic stop. Because of this, it is understandable that people get scared or nervous when they are pulled over by police. However, you must remember that you have rights during a traffic stop.
From the moment you see the red and blue lights in your rear view mirror, there are specific procedures that police are required to follow. Unfortunately, drivers don’t always know the law as thoroughly as the officer making the stop does. Because of this, you may not realize if your rights have been violated during a traffic stop. Thankfully, you can work with an attorney who can scrutinize the various elements of the stop and identify any wrongdoing.
Three critical elements in particular should be examined.
- The reason you were stopped: Police are required to have probable cause to pull you over. If you determine that there was no reason for your stop in the first place, the stop can be deemed unlawful.
- A search of your car: Police must have probable cause or a warrant to search a vehicle, unless you give them permission, which you do not have to do. If a search was improper, then any evidence collected from it can be dismissed.
- Testing administered by an officer: Roadside tests that assess potential impairment are hardly perfect. This is especially true when police administer them incorrectly, which can be grounds to call a resulting arrest into question.
By thoroughly examining these elements of an arrest, it will be possible to identify any unlawful conduct or noncompliance with procedures that violated your rights. Under these circumstances, you can negotiate reduced charges or have them dismissed altogether.
However, this can be extremely difficult to do without competent legal representation. This is why it is so important that you consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are arrested and charged with a crime after a traffic stop in Massachusetts.