It can be nerve-racking for anyone seeing blue lights behind their vehicle. Flashing lights mean that the driver should pull over safely and immediately. Sometimes, a routine traffic stop could turn into a nightmare because of an overzealous officer, but drivers have rights when they get pulled over in Arizona.
An officer cannot just randomly pull a vehicle over. They need probable cause to pull them over, such as a broken tail light. If an officer pulls over a vehicle for speeding and finds illegal drugs, they may not give the driver a ticket. The officer doesn’t need to issue a speeding ticket for probable cause as long as they document the evidence. A ticket wouldn’t be enough evidence.
Safely pull over
The driver has the right to find a safe space to pull over. The driver should still follow traffic rules, give signals and pull as far to the right as possible. Not doing so may anger the officer and lead to more tickets. If a driver can’t find a safe spot, they need to give a hand signal to the officer. It may also help calm the officer if the driver keeps their hands on the vehicle, rolls down the window and turns the inside light on if it’s dark outside.
Breathalyzers, searches and staying in the vehicle
Officers commonly ask drivers to step out of the vehicle for safety reasons. Drivers have the right to stay in their vehicle, but it could look bad to the officer. Drivers can refuse a Breathalyzer test, but they could get their license suspended depending on the state.
Drivers must let officers search the vehicle with a warrant. In some cases, an officer can only search limited areas of the vehicle.
Officers cannot treat a driver any way they want when they pull a vehicle over. If a driver feels that they were treated unfairly during a traffic stop that resulted in charges, a criminal law attorney may be able to assist with the case.