Many police officers' daily job activities include traffic stops. There are many reasons that police may decide to signal a vehicle to pull over onto the side of road. Some of the reasons behind traffic stops may be due to citizen safety, like a broken taillight. Another reason why an Austin police officer may initiate a traffic stop is due to suspicion of law-breaking activity on behalf of the driver or passenger.
When an Austin resident sees the flashing red and blue lights in their rear-view mirror, the first reaction may be panic. However, it is important to stay cool, calm and collected when a traffic stop is initiated. Any hyper or aggravated behavior on behalf of a driver or passenger can signal to the police officer that something isn't right and he or she may determine this as probable cause to search the vehicle or the occupants of the vehicle. Oftentimes, police officers will ask a variety of questions to the driver to determine if they are guilty of a crime.
Simple one word answers are often best in this scenario and it is important to comply with the officer's requests. It is also important to keep your hands on the wheel and not to make any sudden movements, as officers are trained to recognize this behavior as dangerous or incriminating. If a person acts suspiciously by rummaging around, acting aggressively or gives any other indication to the officer that they may be guilty or hiding something, this could result in search and seizure of the vehicle or the occupants. It is important not to give an officer an excuse to search the vehicle or the occupants as it could result in a criminal charge.
Drug crimes are often associated with traffic stops when police search the vehicle or the occupants. Remember that officers are not authorized to search a vehicle without probable cause. If a search and seizure is not conducted in accordance with state and federal law, the charged could be dismissed due to a police officer's failure to comply with the law.
Source: traffic.findlaw.com, "What do to during traffic stops," Accessed May 29, 2017