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During a traffic stop, do you have to answer questions?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

If you get pulled over for speeding, the police officer will probably ask you if you know how fast you were driving. If you get pulled over on suspicion of impaired driving, the officer may ask you if you’ve had anything to drink tonight. Even if you’re unsure why the officer pulled you over initially, they may ask you where you’re coming from or where you’re going.

In this situation, many people feel that they have no choice but to answer the questions posed by the police officer. They may even fear that they will be arrested or ticketed if they refuse. Is this true?

You have to identify yourself

There are some questions that you have to answer or pieces of information you have to provide. The officer is going to ask for your registration, proof of insurance and driver’s license. You are required to have all of these to be driving legally, so you do need to give them to the officer.

But the other example questions noted above do not have to be answered. You don’t have to tell the officer if you’ve had anything to drink or if you know how fast you were driving. In fact, it’s often better not to answer these questions because the officer is likely just trying to get you to incriminate yourself. They’re asking leading questions to get you to say the wrong thing, making it easier for them to make an arrest. 

But you still have the right to remain silent, so you don’t have to answer. You also have the right to legal representation during an interrogation, so you are allowed to use your right to remain silent and ask for your legal team.

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