Understanding Your Rights During Traffic Stops
It’s part six of Traffic Stops in Muskogee Creek Nation, What You Need to Know. My name’s Ted Hasse. I’m an attorney practicing in federal and tribal courts in eastern Oklahoma.
What we’ve gotten to up to this point is talking about the stop, talking about the questions that officers may ask as part of their interrogation. They are interrogating you and talked about the important takeaway, if you don’t get anything else out of these videos, just understand you don’t have to answer questions and it is not in your best interest to answer questions during a traffic stop. You comply and do the things you’re required to and then you say, no, thank you, I don’t wish to answer questions and am I free to go or am I being detained?
Understanding Your Rights During a Traffic Stop
Where we just left off is I wanted to talk briefly about this next step. They go back, they’ve started their investigation. They are taking your license back and they’re running your license to find out if you have any warrants, looking to see if there’s any problems with the vehicle and then at this point if they have some suspicion, if they think they smelled marijuana or something like that, this point they may be trying to reach a canine unit and trying to get a canine unit out there to perform a search.
Now unlike other videos up to this point where I have very practical advice for you, here in this video I want to talk just generally about the law and rights. Understand that they are not allowed to extend your detainment and your stop for any purpose other than completing what they need to complete. So if they stopped you for a tag, if they stopped you for a brake light or if they stopped you for speeding, bad term, whatever it is, they can’t just hold you there waiting for a canine cop to show up and to build more of a case against you. So I guess the practical advice that may come out of this is that if, sometimes they’ll do something sneaky right, where they’ll come back and say, hey we’re just waiting for the canine cop, you don’t mind waiting five more minutes do you? Officer, I do mind, am I being detained? Am I free to go? That’s the practical advice. If there’s any discussion about you consenting to sticking around, be clear, I do not consent to sticking around. I would like to go as soon as I am free to go.
Know Your Rights and Assert Them
Once they bring back your license, registration, proof of insurance, whatever you’ve handed to them, your question needs to be, officer, am I free to go? They may write you a ticket. At this point, we’ll talk later about, I’ve talked a little bit about your rights when they ask you to step out of your car, but we’ll talk about them having you step out and continue their investigation with a field sobriety test, and let me give you a spoiler alert on this. Spoiler is, don’t consent to a field sobriety test, it’s never in your interest. People are confused and think they have to, you’re not required to perform circus tricks on the side of the road for a cop. Anyway, I’ll get to that later. Once they hand that stuff to you, if they’re talking to you about sticking around for a few more minutes with a canine cop, say no, thank you, I’m ready to head on my way.
Dealing with Canine Units and Your Rights
Now, let’s say you get pulled over by a canine cop or a canine unit, or canine units, quick to the scene, they’re there in five minutes. Bad news is what that looks like is kind of, I hate to be cynical about this, but it goes however the officers want it to go. These officers can get canines to alert on any vehicle. The canines are looking to please their handlers, they’re looking to get treats. It’s just bad news when the canine shows up, because whether you have something in the car or you don’t, there’s a significant likelihood that once a canine’s on the scene that it’s going to alert on your car, that that’s going to give them probable cause for a search, and that’s going to significantly extend your detention at the scene. You’re going to end up out of the vehicle, they’re going to end up searching, and things can go badly from there, and certainly understand at this point, and up to this point, you are not answering questions to law enforcement.
Get Expert Legal Counsel for Criminal Charges in Muscogee Creek Nation
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in the Muscogee Creek Nation, or any other tribal nation, including the Cherokee Nation, you’re going to want expert counsel, expert criminal defense, people who are specialized, you’re going to want somebody who’s an expert in tribal law. If you ask me, you’re going to want to give me a call, and give us a call at (918) 947-6552, I’d be happy to talk to you. Again, my name is Ted Hasse.