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Should you talk to the police during a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Criminal Defense

A police officer pulls your car over to the side of the road. They walk up to the driver’s side window and knock on it with their fingers to get your attention, motioning for you to roll the window down and talk to them.

You’re not necessarily trying to make the situation worse, but you’re also not sure if it’s in your best interests to talk to the police. You don’t want to accidentally say something that would incriminate yourself or lead to an arrest. You certainly don’t have your lawyer at your side during the traffic stop, as is your right during an interrogation. Do you have to roll the window down and talk to the officer?

Presenting necessary information

You do need to engage with the officer, at least a little bit. You will have to present them with your driver’s license, your vehicle’s registration and proof that you have the proper insurance. All of this is required by law, as long as the officer had a valid reason to pull you over in the first place.

But that officer may begin to ask you more questions. Where are you heading tonight? Have you had anything to drink? Do you know how fast you were driving?

For questions like these, you are certainly not obligated to answer. You have a right to remain silent, and it may be best to exercise it. After all, the officer may be attempting to get you to incriminate yourself. For instance, they are hoping that you will admit that you have been drinking so they can arrest you on impaired driving charges. 

Even if you use your right to remain silent, you could still be arrested. If so, it may be time to begin looking into your criminal defense options.