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Do you have to answer questions during a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Criminal Defense

For many people, the only time they will really have a conversation with a police officer is if they get pulled over. The officer will want to see their license and registration, and he or she may have certain questions about what was happening when the car was pulled over.

For example, it’s very common for an officer to ask the driver if they’ve had anything to drink that day, at least if the officer sees any evidence of impairment. They may also ask where the person was coming from or where they are headed in such a hurry – in situations where they were pulled over for a speeding violation.

You don’t have to answer these questions

The police are certainly within their rights to ask you these questions, but you don’t have to answer them. You can exercise your right to remain silent.

That does not mean you should ignore the police officer. You do need to provide them with the correct documents – your registration, your proof of insurance and your driver’s license. They can ask you for this information and you should turn it over.

When you can stop answering questions is if the officer tries to go beyond that. Often, their goal is just to try to get you to incriminate yourself. They may be asking you if you’ve had anything to drink just to get you to admit it, providing them with more evidence in the case of an arrest. But you do not have to incriminate yourself or answer these questions without your lawyer.

That said, refusing to answer questions could still lead to an arrest. Be sure you know what legal defense tactics you can utilize at this time.


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