Your Rights if Stopped by Police in Chester County

If you've been stopped by a police officer in Chester County, it's very important that you are aware of your rights. Knowledge is the key to avoiding an arrest and potential criminal charges.

Here are some of the most important rights you should consider flexing during a traffic stop:

An officer can't pull you over unless they have probable cause.

An officer is not allowed to pull you over on a mere hunch. To prevent racial profiling and other types of profiling, officers may only pull you over if they have a good reason, or “probable cause.” This means that a cop must verify that you violated the law in some way to justify a stop. This violation could be (and often is) insignificant, like the failure to use a turning signal, stop at a stop sign, or a broken taillight.

You have the right to refuse the search of your vehicle.

When the police pull you over, they may ask for your permission for them to search your vehicle. The answer to this question (if they don't have a warrant) should always be no, even if you feel like there's nothing incriminating in your vehicle. This is a tactic that many law enforcement use to get you to waive your Fourth Amendment rights, which protects you from unnecessary searches and seizures. If you consent to a search, anything an officer finds - whether you're aware of this item or not - can be used as justification to constitute an arrest.

It's important to note that refusing a search won't always prevent an officer from doing it anyway without your consent. However, he or she will have to provide their reasons for the search.

You have the right to stay in your vehicle.

The law doesn't require you to get out of your vehicle at a traffic stop, so it's legal to remain in your vehicle. Sometimes officers will make this request due to safety precautions. They may suspect that you have a concealed weapon and want to make sure it isn't being hidden. You can choose to comply or you may feel more comfortable in your vehicle, just remember to make the decision based on your interactions with the officer, and how safe you feel. Remember, your safety is a concern too.

You must be “Mirandized” before you can be asked about an alleged crime.

The police must read you a Miranda Warning prior to bringing you into custody or interrogating you about the alleged crime. Once you've been notified of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney is when they can attempt to ask you about significant details about an incident. But regardless, it's in your best interest to not say anything to the authorities without an attorney present.

Chester County Criminal Defense Attorney

When you've been stopped, protecting yourself should be your main priority. The most effective way of doing so is to retain a skilled Chester County criminal defense attorney. Legal professional Joseph D. Lento has successfully represented countless clients who've acquired misdemeanor and felony charges and has helped them get their sentence reduced, and their charges dismissed. For a case evaluation, contact him today online or by phone at (215) 535-5353.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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