Updated: Apr 28, 2021
If a police officer suspects that you have committed a crime or traffic violation, they have a right to question you. When this happens, it is important to know your rights and how maintain a respectful encounter with police. Here are a few things to keep in mind in the event that a police officer pulls you over:
Cooperate with the police and be respectful, but cooperating doesn’t mean answering every question.
The police might try to trick you. If they knew you did something wrong, then they wouldn’t be asking questions.
So, if they ask you for you ID, your name, or to get out of the car, then do it.
But if they ask you where you’ve been, simply ask, “Officer, am I free to go.” If the officer says “no,” then invoke your 5th amendment right to remain silent.
If in doubt, keep your mouth shut. If the officer keeps digging with questions, keep your mouth shut.
Don’t resist the police. If you are arrested, your cooperation or lack thereof might greatly affect how favorable your plea agreement if you go that route.
If you are arrested, do not say anything that could incriminate you and do not consent to any searches.
After you are arrested, do not answer questions, whether you’re in the police car or at the station. State that you are invoking your right to remain silent until you have had a chance to consult with an attorney. At this point, the police must stop asking you questions.
Again, always be respectful toward the police, even when refusing to speak.