There they are, in your rearview mirror: The familiar red and blue lights of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police. You see them all the time on the city streets, but this time, they aren’t going around you. The officer gives a quick blip of his siren, letting you know that he is indeed pulling you over. Your heart starts racing, and your palms get sweaty. You debate whether or not you should flee. Why is the officer pulling you over?
Can the police pull you over for a crime, even if it isn’t a traffic-related incident? In a word: yes. However, there are some things every driver should know about when it’s legal for an officer to pull you over for a crime and what you should do if it happens to you. If the traffic stop turns into an arrest, make sure you get in touch with an attorney right away. If you are unable to post bail, contact a reputable company that handles Las Vegas bail bonds so that you can get out of jail quickly.
What Does the Law Say?
According to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, public officials cannot perform arbitrary searches or seizures. Nevada Revised Statute 171.123 outlines the conditions that must be met before a law enforcement officer can conduct a traffic stop and detain you when they suspect you of committing a crime. You may be detained if the officer has reason to believe that you committed a crime or that you are in the process of doing so now or will do so in the future. The statutes make it illegal for law enforcement to stop you based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.
Criminal Traffic Violations
A law enforcement officer can stop you for criminal traffic violations if there is reasonable suspicion. An officer may suspect you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs if they see you:
- Swerving erratically while driving
- Driving partially in both lanes at the same time
- Stopping abruptly
- Driving excessively fast or too slowly
If you are pulled over for a non-criminal traffic citation, and the officer observes behavior or other evidence to suggest you may have committed a crime, he or she can still arrest you.
Crimes Unrelated to Traffic Violations
You can also be stopped for crimes unrelated to traffic violations. If law enforcement has information that indicates you are violating or have violated parole or probation, they can stop you. They can also pull you over to determine your identity and question your presence in a particular area. For example, if a crime was committed in a specific location, and they know that you were in the vicinity at the time of the crime, they can pull you over to question you.
Once you have been pulled over, the officer cannot detain you for longer than 60 minutes without making an arrest. He or she also cannot ask you to move to a location outside of the immediate vicinity of where you were stopped.
When Can the Police Search Your Car?
Police officers do not need a warrant to search your car. If officers suspect that you have a weapon on your person or in your car, they can conduct an immediate search of your person and your vehicle. The courts have backed them up because law enforcement has the right to ensure their physical safety during traffic stops. Furthermore, if they discover other illegal substances during their searches, such as other types of weapons, illegal drugs or stolen items, they can legally arrest you for possession of those items.
Though it is legal for the police to search your car without a warrant, they have to show that they had probable cause. This could be your behavior, physical signs or other indicators, such as smelling the odor of marijuana. They cannot search your car just because they stopped you for a busted taillight.
What Should You Do If You Are Pulled Over by Police?
In 2019, the LV Metropolitan Police arrested a total of 84,268 adults for crimes. To reduce the chances that you become one of their statistics during a traffic stop, you mustn’t give them further cause to make an arrest when they pull you over. A routine traffic citation can quickly escalate when your behaviors provide them with a reason to make an arrest. When the police pull you over for any reason, take the following steps:
- Pull over as soon as and where it is safe for you to do so.
- Place your hands on the steering wheel when they approach the car. You may be tempted to reach for your license and registration, but if they see your hands in the glovebox, that could arouse suspicion. Wait until they ask you for your license and registration.
- When you’re stopped at night, flip on your dome light. This allows the officer to see you more clearly.
- Always address the officer with respect, addressing the person as “officer.” Keep calm, and do not raise your voice.
- You do not have to answer any questions beyond providing your identity, registration and proof of insurance. If they start asking questions, and you do not want to answer, you must tell them that you are invoking your Fifth Amendment rights. Remember, anything you say can — and will — be held against you in a court of law. Do not be tempted to provide a response that could get you in trouble later in the hopes that you might prevent an arrest. It is better to get arrested and have an attorney’s assistance than to respond blindly to questions when the police have you detained.
Where Can You Find Affordable Las Vegas Bail Bonds?
For the best and most affordable Las Vegas bail bonds, you can count on All n One Bail Bonds. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so that you can get out of jail fast, no matter what time of day or night you are arrested. If you or someone you know needs a trusted bail bond agency, give us a call at (702)333-2663 or begin our online bail application process.