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Do you have to answer questions during a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If you get pulled over by a police officer, they may ask you a number of questions. These could include things like:

  • Where are you coming from tonight or where are you going? 
  • Have you had anything to drink today? 
  • Do you know how fast you were driving? 
  • Do you know why I pulled you over?

But do you actually have to answer these questions? Often, the answer is no. During a traffic stop, you may be obligated to identify yourself by providing paperwork, such as your driver’s license and your proof of insurance. You do have to demonstrate that you are a legal driver and that the car is properly licensed. 

But you do not have to answer any questions beyond that, and you can decline to do so. This is not illegal and you should not be arrested just for refusing to answer. If things get complex, you can always tell the officer that you don’t want to answer any questions without your lawyer.

Why do police ask questions?

The thing to keep in mind is that police officers may be asking leading questions to get you to incriminate yourself. 

For instance, say that you admit that you did have a drink earlier with dinner, thinking nothing of it. Is the officer going to use that to claim that you were impaired while you were driving? Or if you say that you did know how fast you were going, could that admission be the reason that you got a speeding ticket, when the officer actually doesn’t have any proof of how fast you were driving?

At the end of the day, it is often better simply to use your right to remain silent. Take the time to carefully look into all of the legal options you have.

Ramos & Del Cueto, can provide experienced and dedicated assistance if you find yourself in need of help. Call 210-761-6004 or use the form below to contact our firm immediately.