The Right to Remain Silent
For the sake of being polite and keeping things civil, it’s recommended that you answer questions regarding your name, address, license, registration and insurance. But you’re not required to answer anything else beyond these identifying questions. In fact, it’s best if you keep quiet from that point forward. Simply say nothing or politely tell the police officer that you “choose not to answer.”
Searching Your Vehicle
A police officer can only search your vehicle if they have “probable cause,” if you’ve been arrested or if they obtain a search warrant. Otherwise, they don’t have the right to search without permission. Sometimes police will casually ask if they can “take a look inside.” And as stated before, you have the right to refuse this request – it’s best to politely decline.
Keep Calm and Polite
Do not further aggravate the situation or give the police officer an excuse to use force or add charges. Motorists should not make any sudden movements, argue or interfere with police procedures. Keep your hands where the officer can see and be honest in your answers. Stay calm and polite at all times, and consult with a criminal or traffic law attorney if you feel your rights have been violated.
Permission to Leave
If you aren’t arrested and have answered all the basic questions, you have the right to ask if you are “free to go.” If given permission, calmly leave the scene and slowly drive away.
The Right to an Attorney
If a routine traffic stop turns into an arrest, you have the right to a criminal or traffic law attorney. Your attorney will be your first line of defense. They will help guide you and make sure your rights are being protected.