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Traffic stops are never pleasant, but they are certainly common. On average, police in the United States pull over more than 50,000 drivers daily and more than 20 million annually. This staggering statistic shows the importance of knowing the best way to manage a traffic stop if you find yourself in this situation.
However, many people are unclear about Missouri law on traffic stops, which can cause confusion when these stops occur. Knowing how to handle yourself during a traffic stop in Kansas City, Missouri, is crucial to protecting yourself and your rights. But what is the Missouri law on traffic stops, and what should you know to prepare? Here are our recommendations on handling yourselves during a traffic stop in Missouri.
Missouri Law on Traffic Stops
Motorists and officers must follow a few basic protocols to adhere to Missouri law on traffic stops. Below are the expectations for each party in Missouri.
Traffic Stop Laws for Motorists
During a traffic stop in Missouri, the motorist must pull the vehicle as far as possible to the right of the road and stop when approached by a police car. Motorists must stay stopped until the vehicle passes or the officer directs and approaches them.
When blue and red lights go off on the patrol car, slow down and signal your intent to turn on the right shoulder to the officer. Avoid making sudden movements or movements outside of going to the right side of the road, as this can cause problems with other drivers and the officer.
As the motorist, you have certain rights:
- The right to be free from search and seizure without reason
- The right to be free from forced incrimination or the right to remain silent
- The right to have an attorney
Traffic Stop Laws for Officers
Police officers must follow specific rules and protocols to ensure an ethical and proper traffic stop procedure. The officer must explain why your vehicle was stopped. They have the right to ask for your driver’s license, car registration, and proof of insurance card.
As the officer approaches you, wait calmly in your vehicle and avoid reaching under your seat or into another part of your car hidden from the police officer’s view. Many officers will complete the traffic stop without asking you to leave your vehicle, but it’s not uncommon for them to ask you to wait in their patrol vehicle, and they have the right to decide between these options.
If you have issues with the charge, it’s best to speak with an attorney and discuss the problem in court. Cooperate with the officer to the best of your ability. Don’t spend time debating whether or not the charges are justified until you are in a different setting with an attorney.
How to Handle a Traffic Stop in Kansas City
Now that you’re aware of Missouri law on traffic stops and what to expect during the process, it’s time to prepare yourself to handle a traffic stop if the situation arises. Here are our recommendations for handling yourself during a traffic stop.
Stay Calm and Composed
There’s no denying that a traffic stop can be scary, no matter how minor your offense or whether or not you get charged with something. While it’s easy to let your nerves take over, do your best to stay calm and composed during the traffic stop. Remember your rights and do your best to cooperate with the officer during the stop. Keep your hands where the officer can see them, and avoid assuming the worst.
Know Your Right to Refuse Searches
Remember that you are protected during a traffic stop from unreasonable searches and seizures of your car. If the officer does not have probable cause, permission to search your car or a warrant, you are within your rights to refuse the search.
While you should know your right to refuse searches, it’s important to remember not to physically resist a vehicle search. Officers who feel they have probable cause to investigate your car have the right to search – even if you aren’t hiding anything suspicious. If an officer insists on the search, stay calm and allow them to investigate.
Do Not Provide Incriminating Information
Some officers will ask certain questions to nudge you into incriminating yourself. While you must provide information like your license, insurance, and registration, avoid offering additional details that could get you in more trouble in the long run. Officers might ask questions about whether you are aware of why you were pulled over, know the speed you were driving at, or similar lines of questioning that prompt you to incriminate yourself.
Know your rights, and don’t feel like you have to answer questions not pertaining to your legal requirements. No matter how helpful you think additional details might be in proving your case, it’s best to stick to what you’re required to provide and avoid giving anything else.
Consult an Attorney You Can Trust
Having help from an attorney following your traffic stop is essential, especially if you feel that your rights were violated during the procedure. If a traffic stop leads to your arrest, you must seek legal counsel from a trustworthy, professional source.
Have an attorney to turn to if you face a traffic violation. These professionals can not only negotiate your case but also help you understand the charges and address any violations of your rights during the stop. By having a reliable source of information, like the experts at Sloan Law Office, you can handle the traffic stop process much easier and with less stress on your behalf.
How Sloan Law Office Can Help
Understanding Missouri law on traffic stops is only the first step in preparing to handle a traffic stop in Kansas City, Missouri. Knowing your rights as a civilian and what you’re entitled to in the event of procedure violations during the traffic stop requires outside help from legal experts at Sloan Law Office.
Sloan Law Office is here to represent you and help you navigate traffic stop laws to protect your rights and get the best outcome. Reach out to Sloan Law Office today for legal counsel.