3 things to remember during a traffic stop
Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.
Photo of T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez

3 things to remember during a traffic stop

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Traffic stops are one of the few ways the police may investigate a possible crime. For you, as a driver, a traffic stop can be stressful and confusing because you likely don’t know why the police would be stopping you. 

To reduce your anxiety and protect you from criminal charges, it can help to remember your legal rights. Here’s what you should know:

You don’t have to answer questions from the police

The police use questions to gather evidence proving that a diver violated traffic laws. This isn’t always effective, but some drivers will admit to doing something that may tie them to a crime. You have the right to refuse any questions under the Fifth Amendment. This protects you from making self-incriminating comments. To show that you are still willing to cooperate with the police, you can state that you plead the Fifth 

You don’t have to give the police permission to search your car

Another way for the police to gather evidence against drivers is to search their vehicles. The police are hoping to find illegal substances or weapons that would incriminate a driver. While the police may request to search your vehicle, they can’t do so unless they have a warrant. Alternatively, they may ask for your permission, which you don’t have to give. The police can also search a vehicle if they made a lawful arrest.

This right is given to you under the Fourth Amendment. Any evidence collected during an unreasonable search can be dismissed during a court case 

You have the right to record the police

The First Amendment allows you to record the police as long as it doesn’t interfere with their duties. This could help you during a criminal trial if the police violated your rights, abused their power and used excessive force 

If you’ve been stopped by the police and believe your legal rights were violated, then it can help to learn about your defense options.