Know Your Rights: Can you drive to safety before pulling over - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Know Your Rights: Can you drive to safety before pulling over for a cop?

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

There are many cautionary tales told to us when we learn to drive. There's one often told to women: You're driving alone at night, you see the familiar blue lights flashing behind you, so to ensure your safety you have the right to drive to a well-lit, populated area, or even drive home.

It's a tale familiar to Hattiesburg Police Lieutenant Eric Proulx, who recalls this assumed right being only half true.

"But they can't keep driving for miles and miles, or drive home. That is not ok," said Proulx.

Proulx says when it comes to a persons right in this situation they have to follow this law.  

"Reasonably near well lit location," said Proulx.

Proulx added the location should be a short distance away from where the officer initially tried to stop you, but there are some exceptions.

"In the event where the officer is not in uniform, or not in a marked police unit,"said Proulx.

In this situation, Proulx says you should call the police department.

"Or, call 911 and say,'Hey, I'm being stopped. Is this a police officer?," said Proulx.

This action should be taken quickly if not you could risk being charged with eluding. Lawyer and Justice Court Judge, Gay Polk-Payton says intent is key.

"You have to have the intent to elude that law enforcement officer," said Payton.

Payton recommends you show the officer your intent with certain steps, steps she has taken herself.

"So, if you put on your hazard lights and you tap your breaks and let him know I acknowledge you, I know you are back there, I'm going to pull over I'm just getting to a well lit place, then that negates your intent to elude," said Payton.

Once you are stopped, both Proulx and Payton advise to ask the officer for their name, badge number and rank. Payton says you can also record.

"Press record on your phone and record the whole situation. That way you will have documentation as to what you did, and what was said, and what was done. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing illegal about recording your experience," said Payton.

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