Traffic Stops and Georgia Driving Laws: When Can The Police Pull Me Over?Written on December 15, 2014
Most people don’t have a very good feeling when they see flashing blue lights in their rear view mirror. The police don’t pull people over just to say hi or make conversation. If an officer initiates a traffic stop, he or she has a reason for doing so.
Police must have a legal reason for pulling you over. An officer isn’t allowed to stop a car just because they feel like it. We have all heard accusations of profiling on the part of the authorities. That means making a traffic stop on a person because of their race, gender, age or nationality. That’s something law enforcement personnel aren’t allowed to do. Such an action could even potentially mean a violation of a driver’s civil rights.
So what constitutes a legal traffic stop? Sometimes it’s easy to explain. If a cop is using a radar gun and catches you speeding or sees your vehicle weaving all over the road you can expect to be stopped. It’s important for drivers to understand some of the other things that can bring about a roadside encounter with the police.
Officers must have probable cause to pull a car over. Some of the most common reasons that would alert the police to pull you over are:
- Not using a turn signal
- Expired license plate decal
- Texting while driving
- Driving too slowly
- Reckless Driving
- Non-working brake lights
- Not making a complete stop at a sign
- Ignoring a traffic sign
Traffic stops can lead to additional questions from the police. That may include asking where you are headed, if you have had anything to drink, or even a request to search your car. Keep in mind that you do have the right to refuse a search of your vehicle unless presented with a search warrant.
Sometimes a traffic stop can occur because you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. If a crime has happened in the vicinity, and you are driving a vehicle that matches the description of the suspect’s car, you may very well be pulled over and questioned. The fact that you are in the area and driving a car that looks like the one the police are looking for would most likely be viewed as probable cause by a judge. If this happens to you, it’s best to answer the officer’s questions honestly.
The best way to avoid a traffic stop is to obey all the rules of the road and to make sure your vehicle’s equipment is in good working order. In addition to keeping you safe while on the road, these steps will also help you avoid getting a traffic citation which will keep money in your pocket and points off of your driver’s license.
If you have questions or concerns about the legality of a traffic stop, or a citation you received, you should contact The Silverbach Group today. We are experienced attorneys who are here to help and answer your questions. You can reach us at (770) 635-0334.