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What questions must you answer during a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

It’s common for police officers to ask questions during a traffic stop. They may just do this to start the conversation. For instance, if the officer has pulled your vehicle over, they could come to the window and ask you if you know how fast you were driving or where you are heading at this time. 

However, you may not be interested in having a conversation with law enforcement officers, perhaps feeling that they are just looking for a reason to arrest you. Do you actually have to answer these questions?

Necessary information

There are some pieces of necessary information you have to provide to law enforcement. If the officer asks you for your driver’s license, you must give it to them, meaning you have to identify yourself. You also have to give them your registration and proof of insurance for the vehicle. Some drivers will refuse to talk to the police at all, but this can make your situation much more difficult – they may think you stole the car, for instance – when it could’ve easily been resolved.

That said, it is likely that the police are trying to get you to incriminate yourself. It can be very dangerous to answer a question like “Have you had anything to drink today?” 

You may think that being honest and admitting that you had a drink a few hours ago will influence the officer to let you go with a warning because you’re cooperative. But they may actually claim that they now have reason to make a drunk driving arrest, and you’ll realize you just incriminated yourself and made the situation worse. Instead, you may want to consider using your right to remain silent.

Of course, even though you do have a right to remain silent, you may be arrested during the traffic stop. Then you need to know about all of the other criminal defense options at your disposal.