The police can perform traffic stops on drivers who are suspected of committing a crime. The police use traffic stops to gather evidence against drivers to help determine if there is a need for an arrest. Drivers may be asked to answer questions, submit to searches or perform sobriety tests.
Many drivers feel helpless when they are pulled over by the police. However, drivers who understand their constitutional rights may be able to protect themselves. Here’s what you should know;
The First Amendment
Under the First Amendment, drivers have the right to record the police during traffic stops. This can help keep the police accountable for their actions and protect drivers from suffering from police misconduct. However, recording or taking pictures of the police can only be done when it’s not directly interfering with their duty.
The Fourth Amendment
Drivers do not have to submit to unlawful searches under the Fourth Amendment. The police must have a reason before they can perform a search and seizure on a person, vehicle or home. For example, the driver could give the police permission to perform a search. Otherwise, the police may need a warrant or reasons to believe that a crime was committed before a search is made. Evidence gathered during an unlawful search could be inadmissible in court.
The Fifth Amendment
As mentioned above, the police may ask drivers questions during a traffic stop. These questions may help the police prove that a driver was involved in a crime. Under the Fifth Amendment, drivers can refuse to make any comments that would lead to self-incrimination.
Understanding your constitutional rights during a traffic stop is crucial as you build a legal defense against criminal charges.