Police Stops in Arizona

A routine traffic stop is something most drivers experience at least once in their lives. Law enforcement officers in Arizona can conduct traffic stops for broken roadway rules such as speeding, illegal turns, unsafe lane changes, drunk driving, ignored red lights and reckless driving. Offenders can receive tickets and fines. Knowing what to do during a police stop in Arizona could help you protect your rights and minimize penalties.

What to Do If You Are Pulled Over By the Police

Many drivers underestimate the influence they have over how a police stop will go. Police officers receive training in how to use a driver’s actions, behaviors and words to search for a reason to suspect him or her of a crime. Remaining calm and taking the correct steps during a traffic stop could reduce your risk of a ticket or arrest.

  • Pullover as soon as possible. When you see a police car come up behind you with his or her lights on or siren blaring, you must pull to the right side of the road as soon as it is safe to do so. Turn off your engine. Most officers will order you to shut the car off if you have not already done so by the time he or she approaches your vehicle.
  • Do not make any sudden moves. Do not move to get your registration out of your glovebox or reach for anything else inside your vehicle. The officer could take this as you reaching for a weapon. Roll down your window, then keep both hands on the steering wheel until the officer directs you to do otherwise.
  • Cooperate with police instructions. Do what the officer asks. Remain polite and relaxed. If the officer asks for your name, you must answer. You should also let the officer know if you have a legal weapon in the vehicle. You do not have an obligation to answer any other questions, however – especially if the answers could incriminate you.

If the officer arrests you, state that you wish to utilize your right to remain silent and request a lawyer immediately. Do not answer any questions or make decisions without first talking to a Glendale criminal lawyer. If you believe the police officer violated your rights during the traffic stop, write down a description of the incident, the police officer’s badge number and the names of any eyewitnesses. Then, file a written complaint with the agency and discuss your rights with an attorney.

Criminal Consequences for Not Following an Officer’s Orders

It is against the law in Arizona to willingly refuse to comply with a lawful order from a police officer. Any law enforcement officer with the legal authority to direct, regulate or control traffic may give an order or direction and expect a civilian to obey. A civilian failing or willingly refusing to comply is a class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona. The penalties for not following a police officer’s orders during a traffic stop can include a criminal conviction for failure to comply, along with fines and potential jail time. The maximum punishment is $750 in fines and four months in jail. Unlawful flight is a felony crime with more severe penalties that could also arise from disobeying an officer’s orders.

When Can an Officer Pull You Over?

A police or patrol officer will only have the right to pull you over if the officer has probable cause to believe you violated a law. The officer must have a valid reason to conduct the stop. More than just a hunch; the officer must have witnessed you breaking a traffic law or have another reason to suspect you of a violation, such as a radio call about a suspect matching your description. An officer will also need probable cause to search your vehicle. If you believe an officer violated your rights during a traffic stop in Arizona, contact an attorney for legal advice.