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Thomas Carroll Blauvelt

Exercise your rights at traffic stops

We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the road, minding your own business, when a police car pulls up behind you out of nowhere with its lights flashing. You suddenly have the urge to explain yourself and proclaim your innocence.

However, trying to talk your way out of a ticket may not be the best approach, especially if the police suspect you of driving under the influence. In that situation, it is probably best if you just say as little as possible.

Know your rights

When the police pull you over, it is important to understand your rights

  • You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions or provide information beyond your identification and car registration.
  • You have the right to refuse consent if the police want to search your vehicle or property. If they have probable cause, they may search without your permission. However, if they do not have probable cause, your refusal may help you later challenge the search. 
  • You have the right to film the encounter with the police as long as you do not interfere with their work. 
  • If you’re suspected of drunk driving, you have the right to refuse roadside sobriety field tests, like the one-legged stand. Usually, these tests are just used to justify chemical blood alcohol testing.

What if the traffic stop turns into a DUI charge? It’s understandable if you’re feeling overwhelmed and uncertain. Learning more about your legal options and the potential defenses available to you is one place to start.