When you get pulled over by the police, it is likely that the officer is going to come up to your car and talk to you through the driver’s side window. They may have some questions for you, and you may even get the sense that you have to answer. After all, the police officer is wearing a uniform and in a position of authority.
But the truth is that you often do not have to talk to the police. You have a right to remain silent and you don’t have to answer questions. Even if they ask you questions, you can tell them that you don’t want to answer any without your lawyer present. You do have a right to legal representation. The law has been set up this way so that you don’t have to incriminate yourself, and it is not a crime to refuse to answer a police officer’s questions – no matter what they tell you.
There are some exceptions
During a traffic stop, however, there are a few things you may have to provide or state to the officer. They’re going to ask you for your identification, and you need to provide your driver’s license. The officer will also likely ask you for your proof of registration and proof of insurance. All of this documentation is required for drivers, so you do have to turn it over at the time.
However, you don’t have to answer any questions beyond this. For instance, police officers will sometimes ask if you know why they pulled you over, if you know how fast you were driving or if you’ve had anything to drink today. These are the types of questions that you have absolutely no legal obligation to answer during the traffic stop.
If you do get arrested and find yourself facing charges, or if you’re given a ticket, be sure you know about all of the legal options at your disposal.