No one likes being pulled over by the police. It’s an inconvenience, and it also can be pretty scary. It is easy to feel intimidated and you may wonder what your rights are when you are pulled over.
Of course, the reason you were pulled over has everything to do with the charges you may face. In fact, in the State of Florida, depending on the reason you were pulled over, you could face misdemeanor charges.
Some of the driving-related charges that could result in misdemeanor charges in Florida can include:
Regardless of whether or not you are guilty of one of the above misdemeanor charges, not only is it important to understand what police officers are doing and why the officer pulled you over, it is important that you understand your rights.
Remember – Police Officers Have a Job…
Misdemeanor charges in Florida are handled by police officers. They have a very dangerous and serious job and the first thing any police officer will do is look out for their own safety. If they feel the individual they have pulled over threatens that safety, the officer will be more aggressive.
That is why it is important that you keep your hands on the steering wheel, never exit the vehicle unless instructed to do so, and make it clear to the officer if you are reaching for something and what you are reaching for.
Now, Your Rights
As long as you take the time to understand your rights, and you prove that you are not a threat to the officers or society in any way when you are pulled over and/or during an arrest, then any misdemeanor charges you face can be dealt with a bit easier.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. You have the right to be told why you were pulled over. The officer should clearly tell you why they stopped your vehicle and then they will ask to see your Florida driver’s license, registration, and your proof of insurance.
2. You have the right to not self-incriminate. If the officer asks you if you know why you were pulled over, you don’t have to admit to anything. Instead, you can request the officer tell you why you were pulled over.
3. You have the right to be treated with respect. If the officer seems to be antagonizing you or verbally abusing you, they are violating your rights.
4. You have the right to record the interaction between yourself and the officer. Just as law enforcement can tape you, you can tape yourself talking to the officer.
However, you need to let the officer know and make sure that your recording does not interfere with their ability to investigate; therefore, if you are asked to perform a sobriety test, you will need to put down your recording device in order to complete the test.
5. You have the right to refuse sobriety tests, including the breathalyzer. However, it may not be in your best interest to do so.
6. You have the right to request an attorney if you are taken into custody. After the stop, if you are arrested for any reason, you still have the right to a criminal defense attorney. You do not have to answer questions – except for your name, address and basic information.
Understanding Misdemeanor Charges in Florida with Help From a Miami Criminal Attorney
The biggest thing you should keep in mind any time you are stopped or questioned by police is your rights, but also their job. Making sure we are all obeying the rules of the road is one of the many ways police work to curb crime in Miami.
If you were pulled over by the police and you currently face—or think you may face—a misdemeanor charge, then contact a Miami criminal attorney.