There are many different ways that someone could be stopped by law enforcement, and what to expect at a traffic stop in West Palm Beach depends on the specific circumstances. If someone is stopped for reckless driving in West Palm Beach, they should expect law enforcement to be fairly aggressive upon initial contact. If the officer follows the individual for a distance and observes them driving erratically over a period of time, the offense is much more egregious than if the person ran a stop sign, failed to use a turn signal, or was traveling ten miles an hour over the speed limit. A well-versed traffic lawyer can better help you understand what to expect.
What Happens at the Traffic Stop?
Reckless driving is defined as driving that endangers the lives and safety or property of others. When an officer believes someone was driving so recklessly that it caught their attention and they made a traffic stop, they may be stern with the individual. The police officer may approach the driver somewhat aggressively and ask why they are driving recklessly. They might even order the driver out of the car and put them in handcuffs.
At the beginning of a traffic stop, the law enforcement officer observes a motorist doing something illegal and follows behind them to get a tag number. They run the tag by radio or computer to obtain the vehicle registration. They are also checking for the identity of the driver. They may have a picture of the vehicle owner and may determine before they make a stop whether the owner is the driver of the stopped vehicle.
Once the officer determines the identity of the driver, they implement the traffic stop by using by lights and sirens to alert the driver to pull off to the side of the road. When someone sees red and blue flashing lights in their rearview mirror, they should immediately indicate to the vehicle following them that they are going to pull over. They can slow down, put their hazards on, or put a directional signal on and move over to the closest and safest spot. They should not stop in the middle of traffic but should get out of the flow of traffic to avoid causing an accident or creating a more dangerous situation.
Factors that May Affect a Stop in West Palm Beach
Often during a traffic stop, the police look for other infractions or crimes. For instance, they may be looking for other items such as contraband, drugs, or stolen goods. Sometimes, the officer does a thorough review of what they can see in plain view. If they see or smell anything while at the side of the vehicle, they have the right to search the vehicle. When a police officer believes a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs, they have the right to order the person out of the vehicle, search them, and pat them down to make sure there is nothing on them.
If someone is travelling more than 100 miles an hour on the highway, they should expect an aggressive type of traffic stop where they are ordered out of the vehicle at gunpoint with multiple officers on the scene. This is called a felony traffic stop. They order the driver out of the vehicle, faced backwards, and get down on their knees with their hands behind their head. The law enforcement officer handcuffs the individual at gunpoint until they are safe and secure.
If a defendant needs to learn more about what makes each traffic stop unique, a West Palm Beach lawyer could explain more during a consultation.
Speak to An Attorney About What to Expect at a Traffic Stop in West Palm Beach
What to expect at a traffic stop in West Palm Beach depends on the specific circumstances. However, if you are stopped, you should be polite but decline to answer questions without speaking to a lawyer. It is important to remember that anything you say may be used against you. To better understand what to expect, call today.