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Do you know your rights during a traffic stop?

It was a great family get-together. There is nothing like time with those you love, and you all celebrated your nephew’s graduation with good food, conviviality, good company and plenty of beer and wine. You paced yourself, ate enough food and hydrated with plenty of water.

 So, on the way home, you weren’t concerned when you saw flashing lights signaling you top pull over. Probably a broken taillight, you thought.

What is best to tell a cop?

The officer checks your registration and license and asks where you were and whether you have been drinking. It’s okay to admit to a few beers, right? Afterall, you know you are perfectly fine and able to drive.

The most salient and succinct answer is to politely, but firmly, state that, based on the Fifth Amendment, you are invoking your right not to incriminate yourself. Why does this matter?

Cops take note of everything you say

Law enforcement makes note of everything you say and do during a traffic stop. It is not unusual to find that the cop has written down what you were wearing, everything you say and even whether you were polite or argumentative.

Officers do this so that when you dispute the ticket in court, they are able to substantiate their memory and why they wrote the ticket.

Saying nothing may seem rude, but helps you

No comments from you mean no incriminating statements. The officer cannot report that you said you “only had a few drinks.” The less information law enforcement has, the more they must work to develop a case, even for a DWI.

The founders of country ensured that we all protections under the law. It is our choice and our responsibility to protect ourselves and our futures by using them.

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