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What are your rights when police pull you over for a traffic violation?

One of the most common ways individuals interact with police officers is during a traffic stop. Knowing how to handle that situation is wise.

Police officers have limited options as to what they can say or do when conducting a traffic stop. You may find it helpful to understand your rights as a driver if a traffic stop occurs.

What are your rights if the police stop you while driving?

A person stopped by the police has the right to remain silent. You don’t have any obligation to have active communication with law enforcement officers because they pull you over other than to provide them with your driver’s license and insurance information.

You do not have to agree to have yourself, or your vehicle searched during a traffic stop. If you don’t consent, then any potential contraband law enforcement officers may find may be deemed inadmissible unless they had probable cause to perform the search.

Law enforcement officers generally cannot ask for proof of your immigration or citizenship status during a traffic stop unless it occurs at an airport or international border crossing.

What can you do to keep a traffic stop from escalating out of control?

There are a few different things that you should do during a traffic stop to avoid further problems:

  • Keep your hands in plain view during a traffic stop.
  • Do not present falsified identification documents.
  • Do not attempt to run or evade the police.
  • Immediately request a lawyer if law enforcement arrests you.
  • Do not provide any information or sign anything.

One of the biggest mistakes that individuals make when stopped for a traffic infraction is saying or doing too much. That often results in them facing more significant charges than they originally were. When in doubt, calling an attorney is always appropriate. 

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