Whether you are driving under the influence with contraband in the vehicle, or you are a perfectly law-abiding citizen with nothing to hide, no one enjoys getting pulled over by a police officer. At a bare minimum, a traffic stop can be embarrassing, time-consuming, and potentially expensive if the officer finds a reason to write a ticket. Worst case scenario you could end up being placed under arrest, taken to jail, and your vehicle could be impounded. An Omaha criminal defense lawyer at Petersen Criminal Defense Law explains that to avoid getting pulled over, you need to learn to think like a police officer does.
What Is a Police Officer Thinking?
Of course there is no way to really know what a police officer is thinking at any given time; however, it is possible to learn how they think and what they look for when patrolling the streets. The average police officer is looking for three primary things – traffic violations, motorists who are under the influence, and vehicles that appear suspicious. Frequently, traffic violations are used as a pretext for stopping a vehicle because the officer actually suspects the driver is under the influence and/or something illegal is going on in the vehicle. With that in mind, if you want to avoid getting pulled over, it pays to pay particular attention to the traffic violations that are most likely to draw a police officer’s attention to you while you are on the roadway.
How to Avoid Getting Pulled Over
Just as you cannot really know what a police officer is thinking, there is no way to guarantee you won’t get pulled over; however, once you know what they are looking for, you can dramatically decrease the odds of finding yourself along the side of the roadway. A law enforcement officer must have a legal reason stop you. Although an officer is not required to have proof that you have committed a crime, the officer does at least need to have reasonable suspicion that you have committed a traffic infraction. Officers use these “pretextual” stops when they suspect, but do not have proof, that a motorist is under the influence and/or has committed a crime. To avoid getting pulled over, therefore, avoid the following:
- Expired registration. This is almost certain to result in being pulled over so make sure you renew your registration before the due date each year and make sure the tag on your plate is current.
- Vehicle lights malfunctioning or broken. A broken taillight is almost certain to end in a traffic stop at night. Another one few motorists think to check is your license plate light – but officers certainly notice if it isn’t working.
- Tint that is darker than the state limit. Every state decides how dark the tint on a vehicle can be. Make sure the tint on your vehicle, particularly if you purchased it out of state, doesn’t exceed the state limit or you can count on being pulled over and dealing with a nervous law enforcement officer.
- Obvious defects on your vehicle. Things such as a cracked windshield, a missing or hanging side mirror, or a loud muffler will catch an officer’s attention and often lead to a stop.
- Driving too fast– or too slow. Trying to stay exactly at the speed limit is both difficult and not necessary; however, stay within five to ten miles over and under the posted speed limit. Unless you are a senior citizen, driving too slow is just as likely to get you pulled over as driving too fast.
- Driving recklessly. Weaving in and out of traffic and other reckless driving behaviors draw unwanted attention to you.
- Not using your turn signals. Most of us who have been driving for a few years tend to get lazy when it comes to using our turn signals, especially if we are in a turning only lane. Failing to yield and failing to signal though are among the most commonly used pretexts for a traffic stop that is really a DUI stop.
- Using your cell phone. Most states now prohibit texting and driving and many prohibit all handheld devices. If a police officer sees you using your cell phone you can almost count on being stopped.
Contact Omaha Criminal Defense Lawyer at Petersen Criminal Defense Law
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the State of Nebraska, it is always in your best interest to consult directly with an experienced criminal defense attorney about the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Contact the Omaha criminal defense lawyers at Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-909-0346 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.