Being Stopped for Failure to Signal Can Expose You to Police Scrutiny

Have you ever seen a movie in which a gang of thieves pulls off a perfectly executed bank heist, piles into their escape car, and leaves the scene of the crime, only to get pulled over at a nearby intersection for a foolish traffic violation, such as failing to signal properly? Once the police officer looks into the car, it's all over—and the tension builds as the gang's leader decides whether to give up, drive away, or back over (or shoot) the unfortunate cop,

Real life is rarely so dramatic, but Hollywood scriptwriters have nailed this scenario down cold in at least one way: If you get pulled over in Virginia for failing to signal properly, your subsequent behavior can give a police officer sufficient “probable cause” to ask you step out of the vehicle and pop the trunk (or to stick his head in your window and glance at whatever you have in the front or back seat). More to the point, you're more likely to forget to signal a turn if, say, you've had a few drinks—and if the police officer notices that your eyes are unfocused and you're speaking in a slurred voice, that's all he needs to start booking you on a DUI charge (which will make your “failure to signal” citation seem like small change by comparison).

Without probable cause, though—slurred speech, an odor of marijuana in the car, a glimpse of a semi-hidden gun barrel—the police are not allowed free rein to search you or your car after pulling you over for a routine traffic violation in Virginia. Questions? Call 888-783-9701 and talk with an experienced traffic attorney at Jarrell Hicks & Waldman for a free consultation!

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