'Tis the Season

Holiday parties. New Year’s Eve. The Super Bowl. It’s a time of celebration. Most drivers make a plan to get home safely.  In reality, even the best laid plans can lead to a traffic stop.  Often, answers to seemingly simple, routine officer questions, pave the way to a criminal charge and conviction.  The top 5 questions, commonly-asked by police officers that, if answered by you, will likely lead to a criminal charge and conviction are:

  1. Do you know why I stopped you?
  2. How fast do you think you were going?
  3. Do you know the speed limit on this road?
  4. Have you had anything to drink/How much have you had to drink?
  5. Do you have anything in the car that I should know about/May I search your car?

These questions are designed to get statements for use against the driver in court.  As an example, if you are stopped because the officer suspects you are driving on a suspended license, the officer will ask if you know that your license is suspended.  Answering “yes” is enough to convict you of a misdemeanor crime.

When stopped by a police officer, exercise your right to remain silent when confronted with incriminating questions, while also interacting with the officer in a professional manner; do not argue with the officer, even if you are correct.  Your actions and statements during a traffic stop can make the difference between the judge finding you guilty or not guilty.