During a traffic stop, do you have to answer questions?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

You’re on the way home one night when red and blue lights start flashing behind you. You pull over to the side of the road. Your heart is hammering in your chest because it’s been a long time since the police pulled you over. It makes you nervous and you are worried about getting arrested.

When the officer gets to your window, he or she begins to ask you questions. You don’t want to say the wrong thing, and you may even be wondering if you have to answer these questions at all. What should you do here?

You only need to identify yourself

For the most part, you need to provide proper identification. All drivers need to be licensed, so you should hand the officer your driver’s license. This proves that you’re allowed to operate the vehicle.

Next, you will likely be asked for your registration and your proof of insurance. You should also provide this documentation, as it shows that you have followed the state laws that apply to all drivers. The police are allowed to ask for these types of documents during a traffic stop.

But beyond that, you typically don’t need to say anything at all. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should ignore the police officer, which would likely lead to arrest. But you don’t have to incriminate yourself, you do have a right to remain silent and you can tell the officer that you don’t want to answer any questions without your legal team at your side.

Naturally, doing that still may lead to arrest, and you could find yourself facing charges. If so, then you need to begin looking into your criminal defense options.


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