A teenager out for a drive on Friday night may be stopped by the police on the road. When the police do stop him, what should a teenager do? (download the pdf eBook dealig with the police)
First, the teenager must look and see if the persons stopping him on the read are really the police. They must be in uniform and their names and badges must be prominently displayed. The teenager must note down the police officer’s name.
Second, the teenager must note down the names of the other police officers around so that he can name them as possible witnesses to the events transpiring at this police stop.
Third, the teenager must stop, stay in his car and lower the window. The police have a right to look into through the window. Chances are, the police stopped you at a sobriety check point. The officer is looking for signs of drink driving. He is allowed to observe your face to know: if your eyes are red, glassy, bloodshot; and if you or any of your friends in the car smell of alcohol.
Fourth, the teenager must answer the police officer’s questions by giving his name, address and age. By asking his name, the police officer wants to note if your speech is slurred. By asking your address, the police officer wants to know if you are disoriented which is a sign that you may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs or your capacity to operate a vehicle is in any way impaired. By giving your age, the police officer will be alerted that he cannot question you further because you are minor. You can only be questioned in the presence of your parent or your lawyer.
Fifth, the teenager must give the police officer his driver’s license if he asks for it. The driver’s license will verify the teenager’s name, address and his age. From noting the type of driver’s license the police can see what blood alcohol limits apply to the teenager.
Sixth, the teenager can ask the police officer what offense he is being charged with if the police officer asks the teenager to alight from the vehicle or if the police officer places the teenager under arrest.
Seventh, the teenager must comply with the police officer’s request to take a breath analyzer test. This is one power that the police have: they can stop any vehicle and order the driver to take the breath analyzer test to measure the driver’s blood alcohol content. Refusing to take the breath analyzer test will result in criminal prosecution.
Eighth, the teenager should never argue with the police even if he is placed under arrest. He must not resist arrest. Rather, he must ask that his parents be informed of his arrest. He may ask to be allowed to call his parents from his cell phone if he has any or from the police station where he is brought.
Ninth, the teenager has the right to remain quiet at the police station and if he is asked questions, the teenager can politely refuse to answer them. The teenager has the right not to be made a witness against himself. If the teenager is being charged with an indictable offense for which he will appear before the court and a jury, he has the right not to give evidence against himself.
Tenth, the teenager must accept the mention or notice given to him by the police. This is a traffic violation receipt which indicates the specific traffic offense violated and the amount of fine you must pay. If you wish to pay it, that signifies the end of that traffic violation. It may remain in your records but you will no longer need to appear in court or give evidence. If the summary offense carries with it the penalty of prohibition from driving for a specified time, then you must comply. If you decide to contest the notice, you will have to appear before the court and testify.
You must know your rights and you must also know what to do and whom to call in these situations when you are stopped by the police. For legal assistance, please feel free to contact any our lawyers.