While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
If you are pulled over by a police officer while driving your vehicle, you may be wondering what your rights are in this situation. It does not matter if you are being pulled over for speeding or some other reason since the law will apply to you in the same way.
You Have The Right To Remain Silent
It's always important to remember that you have the right to remain silent during a traffic stop. You do not have to answer questions that the officer is asking you since you are allowed to express your right to remain silent. All you have to do is identify who you are and provide the officer with your driver's license and other state-mandated identification. Anything else that you say during the traffic stop is an option.
Will you be able to talk your way out of the ticket at the time by remaining silent? Of course not, but you will also avoid incriminating yourself or giving the officer evidence they can use against you. You may feel like it is better to have this discussion in a courtroom when fighting your ticket later on.
You Have The Right To Record The Interaction
Know that you always have the right to record the interaction with the police officer, as long as the recording is not interfering with the officer giving you the ticket. Many people will simply prop up their camera and hit record so that they can be completely hands-free with their phone during the interaction with the police officer. If you are told to put away your phone or that you are not allowed to record it, know that you have the right to record the conversation for your records.
You Have The Right To Refuse A Search
If you are pulled over for a routine traffic stop, know that you have the right to refuse a search of your vehicle. Giving consent to a search means that anything that the police officer finds can be used against you in court. You can politely decline a search, knowing that anything that is found during a search without your consent can be dismissed in court because it was done illegally. While there are exceptions to this circumstance where a police officer can search your vehicle, there is no reason to consent to a search at the time of a traffic stop. Nothing good can come of it.
If you have any questions about your rights, reach out to a traffic lawyer in your area.