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What Happens During A Maryland Traffic Stop?

Anyone who has been pulled over in a Maryland traffic stop knows how scary the process can be, even for those who have done nothing wrong. To better prepare yourself, read the following which explains some of your rights and obligations during a traffic stop.

How should you behave?

The key to dealing with the police in almost any situation is to be calm and respectful. Getting an attitude will only add stress to the encounter and likely make things worse for you. In fact, if you were polite and cooperative, this will help you in court.

What should you do?

If you’ve been pulled over the first thing to do is to make sure to stop your car as far out of the lane of traffic as possible. Remember to remain inside your car and make sure your hands stay visible; you don’t want the officer to get nervous. When asked to provide identification and insurance information do so promptly and avoid nervous talking, instead give simple and concise answers, do not elaborate.

Searches based on probable cause

If you were pulled over for a simple traffic violation and the officer noticed something illegal while you were stopped, the officer may have probable cause to search your vehicle and possibly even arrest you. If the officer does have sufficient probable cause, they are allowed to search the entire vehicle, including the trunk and any bags inside the vehicle. The police are also allowed to search the vehicle if they have reason to believe you are armed and dangerous. This search might turn up other incriminating evidence which can then be legally used against you.

Searches based on consent

If you are pulled over and the officer is suspicious about possible illegal activity, such as drugs or alcohol, but does not yet have enough evidence to conduct a search based on probable cause, they can simply ask you if they are allowed to search your car. Everyone needs to understand that if the police officer is asking your permission you are well within your rights to say no. Don’t be aggressive about it, just respectfully decline.

If you’re thinking about giving consent for a search, you really should think again. Once you have granted your consent to search your vehicle, the officer then has the right to dig around and use anything that is found against you. Once the consent has been given there’s no take backs, something that can make it harder later on to argue in court if the officer does discover something illegal.

Need help with a Maryland traffic ticket or drunk driving offense? Call me at 301-563-9575 or 1-877-566-2408 for a free consultation. I’m an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer and I’d be happy to help. I practice law throughout the entire State of Maryland.