If the police pull you over in the State of Texas, you naturally have rights, but you may not be clear on the extent of those rights. Understanding your rights in such situations can help ensure that you invoke your rights. Eventually, nearly everyone gets pulled over for something; know your rights.
The Police Cannot Pull You Over without Probable Cause
In order to stop you, the police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime. This crime, however, need not be anything more pressing than having a headlight out or failing to signal a turn. Do not be afraid to ask why the officer pulled you over to begin with.
The Officer Can Ask You to Get Out of Your Car
If you are pulled over in a Texas traffic stop, you will likely remain in your vehicle throughout the process. The officer who stopped you can, nevertheless, ask you to get out of your car, and you are required by law – in this situation – to do so. Unless the officer has either a warrant or probable cause, however, searching you is off-limits.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
If you have heard it once, you have heard it a thousand times – “You have the right to remain silent . . .” And it is true, you do. Outside of answering the officer’s basic administrative questions and you enquiring about why you were stopped in the first place, it is generally in your best interests to remain silent. The stress and anxiety of being stopped by the police can make you feel like talking, but it's usually in your best interest to resist the urge.
The Police Cannot Search Your Vehicle without an Adequate Reason for Doing So
The Fourth Amendment provides all of us with protections against unreasonable searches. In order to search your car, the officer who stops you must have probable cause for believing that you engaged in criminal activity. Such probable cause can include any number of things, including:
Signs that you are under the influence – such as the smell of alcohol or a visible open container
The smell of drugs or drugs and/or drug paraphernalia that is in plain sight
Stolen goods that are in plain sight
Arguing Is Not Against the Law
Although you are ill-advised to argue with the officer who pulls you over, you cannot be arrested for doing so. If, however, the officer views your behavior as threatening, he or she can charge you with disorderly conduct.