When you are stopped by a police officer while driving, you still have a number of civil rights. However, how you choose to invoke those rights can certainly set the tone for what will happen next. Here’s how to protect your rights under the law in a respectful, constructive way.
Your Right to Record the Interaction
You have the right to record or film the entirety of the traffic stop. However, many officers will ask that cell phones be put away. You can politely tell the officer that you would like to invoke your right to film the interaction, but also let him or her know that you don’t want any trouble. If you do continue to film, be sure that your phone or camera doesn’t get in the officer’s way at all or you might be arrested for obstruction.
Your Right to Reasonable Detention
While there is no set length of time that an officer can have your vehicle stopped, it must not be considered unreasonable in length. If you feel that you have been detained too long, for example, over half an hour, you may ask the officer why you are still being held.
Your Right to the Officer’s Identifying Information
The police have the right to your identifying information when they stop your vehicle, which is why drivers are asked for their license and registration. You also have the right to the identifying information of the officer, including his or her name, badge number, and their jurisdiction or precinct. Be sure to ask the officer for the information politely and do not become aggressive or confrontational.
Your Right to Remain Silent
Even before an arrest, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer a police officer’s questions, apart from providing them with your identifying information. For example, if a police officer asks you where you were going, where you were coming from, if you knew you were speeding, or any other questions that could be incriminating, you have the right to decline to answer. Be sure to let the officer know that you politely decline versus simply refusing to talk. You cannot incriminate yourself by saying “I would like to remain silent” or “I have no comment.”
Contact a Traffic Ticket Lawyer Today
If you were pulled over for a traffic ticket and your rights were violated during the stop, it’s in your best interest to consult with a lawyer. Contact our office for a consultation today at 770-349-9219.