Driver Training For Illinois Traffic StopsPublished: Aug 22, 2016, by in Constitutional Rights, Criminal Defense, Legal Blog, Traffic, Traffic Violations
Do you know your rights if you are pulled over by the police? If you do, you’re one of a few. Many people aren’t sure of how they should behave when the police pull them over. What instructions are they required to follow and what requests can they deny? This lack of certainty leads many people to not uphold their constitutional rights, which can be detrimental to them in a future court case for a traffic or criminal offense. That is why Illinois will now require driver’s education classes to address a person’s rights during Illinois traffic stops. But if you did not receive this type of education in school or from family, you may have been in a traffic stop without understanding what you could and could not do or say.
If you are facing the consequences of a traffic stop, call the experienced Chicago criminal defense attorneys at O’Meara Law at 312-909-0706.
New Driver’s Education Training Coming Soon
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed bill HB6131 into law in the beginning of August. The new curriculum requirement goes into effect during the 2017-18 school year or after June 30, 2017, for private driving schools.
The synopsis of the bill states that driving course should include instruction on law enforcement procedures during traffic stops, “including a demonstration of the proper actions to be taken during a traffic stop and appropriate interactions with law enforcement.” The Illinois Secretary of State will develop the guidelines for this requirement.
Many believe this law is timely because of news coverage revolving around traffic stops that have escalated leading to a drivers’ injury or death. Legislators believe that if a driver understands how to behave when stopped by the police, there will be no need for the situation to turn dangerous or deadly for anyone.
Your Rights During A Traffic Stop
People who are unaware of their rights at a traffic stop can escalate a simple situation into an argument with the police. Here are some of your key rights when you are involved in a traffic stop:
- You must identify yourself: The police will first ask for your license and probably your car insurance. You need to give them your name, license, and insurance card.
- You do not have to answer other questions: The police generally ask you a few questions like where you are coming from or going to, or do you know how fast you were driving. You don’t have to answer. It may be best to calmly state that you will not answer any questions without an attorney present.
- You must get out of the car: If the police suspect you of drinking and driving or another crime, they may ask you to get out of the car. You are legally required to comply. Follow the police officer’s instructions calmly.
- You do not have to take a field sobriety test: Field sobriety tests are not mandatory and you can calmly tell the police officer that you will not submit to such the test.
- Refusing a breath test can result in a penalty: Under Illinois law, you impliedly consent to a breath test. If you refuse, you can lose your license for a period time under an administrative revocation.
- You do not have to consent to a search of your car: Sometimes police will ask if they can look in your car. You should tell them no. If the police had probable cause to search your vehicle, they would not ask you, they would simply do it. If they ask for permission, they do not have probable cause, and you do not have to let them look in your car.
- You may ask if you are free to go: If the traffic stop seems to be taking a long time, you may always ask “Officer, am I being detained or am I free to go?”
- You must sign the ticket: If you are given a ticket, accept it calmly and sign it when instructed to do so. Signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt. Refusing to sign the ticket can lead to your arrest.
Remember that no matter what happens or what the police ask you, you should remain calm. Do not argue or swear. Your attitude can greatly affect the situation.
Call a Lawyer Right Away
If you are arrested or ticketed during a traffic stop, call the Chicago defense lawyers at O’Meara Law right away. You have the right to an attorney at all times after you arrest. Simply say “I refuse to answer questions until I have an attorney present.” You cannot be punished for this and it is not an admission of guilty.
Call O’Meara Law at 312-909-0706 or use the online chat to schedule a consultation.