Routine traffic stops can be pretty benign and banal. However, the drama is ramped up if you say something you shouldn’t. The most important thing you should do in a routine traffic stop is say nothing. Respond only to the questions the officer asks in the simplest of answers. This generally means “yes,” “no,” or “I don’t know.”
Refusing to give lengthy answers that might catapult into the territory of downright lying protects your rights during a traffic stop. Not giving the police any reason to push or pursue matters and/or escalate the situation means you can be on your way a lot sooner. Be polite and succinct. Whatever you do, never say the following four things to a police officer during a traffic stop.
1. Volunteer That You Have Firearms in Your Vehicle
As far as the officer is concerned, you may or may not have firearms in your vehicle. Officers are always trained to expect that there is a weapon, even when there’s not. Volunteering that you actually have a weapon in the vehicle will force the officer’s hand in asking you to step out of the vehicle for a search, and you definitely don’t want that.
2. Agree to Allow the Officer to Search Your Vehicle
The police cannot search your vehicle without your permission. Volunteering that option or giving the officer permission to search your vehicle makes you look suspicious, and the officer will definitely take advantage of your offer. This puts you in a very precarious position, especially if the officer finds any violations of the law in your vehicle (e.g., weapons, open alcoholic beverages, containers with no labels requiring the officer to do a “sniff test,” drugs-whether or not they are legal in your state, etc.).
3. Argue With the Officer About What You Were Pulled Over For
This is just stupid from the get-go. The officer knows how fast you were going, knows whether or not you have been drinking, knows if you have a taillight out, etc.. If he or she argues that you were going 30 over the speed limit and you argue that you know exactly how fast you were going and it wasn’t 30 over the limit, the officer has got you coming and going. It’d be hard to argue in court that you don’t owe that speeding ticket. Just don’t argue at all. If you hold your tongue you might even get off with a warning.
4. Tell an Officer You Don’t Have Your License
Your license should always be on your person. You never leave home without it. If you don’t have it because it’s suspended or revoked, don’t volunteer that information. It’s better to suggest that you forgot it. Chances are, the officer will look you up in the system and figure it out soon enough, and then you haven’t incriminated yourself.
Ready to Contest a Fine or Ticket?
If you didn’t really do anything wrong and you haven’t said the wrong things during your traffic stop, it may be possible to hire a lawyer to contest the fine/ticket. Contact Jeremy M. Wang Law & Associates, LLC to discuss your case.