You’re pulled over by the police for a routine traffic violation – or so you thought. Things take a disturbing turn, however, when the police start asking probing questions. They want to know where you’ve been, where you’re going, what you might have in the car and what you’re doing.
This is a situation that happens far too often, and it is not easy to handle. So, how should you respond?
Don’t take the bait
While the majority of police officers are respectful and try to be professional, this is not always the case. Some police officers can be rude, discourteous or incompetent at their jobs.
You might even be extremely unlucky on this occasion and run into an officer who is having a bad day. They may want nothing more than for you to respond to their goading and disrespect towards you.
Don’t rise to it. Being rude or aggressive in return will do nothing to help you and it could even escalate matters.
Remember your rights
Law enforcement is not entitled to stop you, search your person or interfere with your liberty in an arbitrary manner. You don’t have to answer their questions. Instead, you can redirect the officer to the reason for the traffic stop and simply state, “I prefer not to discuss that,” to any other questions.
Naturally, the police may imply that you need to tell them everything and will get in trouble if you don’t, but this is not the case. While you cannot lie about who you are, you are not obliged to tell them anything else. You are entitled to protection from self-incrimination, as outlined in the Fifth Amendment of the constitution.
The key takeaway is that you need to remain calm when approached by the police, as difficult as this may be. If you do end up arrested and are facing criminal charges, it is in your best interests to look into your legal rights – but a good defense starts by not giving the police anything extra they can use.