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If you get pulled over, do you have to answer questions?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Getting pulled over by the police can be nerve-racking and confusing. You may not know what you did wrong. You may be worried about getting arrested or getting a ticket. Often, it feels like you just have to do whatever the police tell you and hope that things work out.

But what if the police officer starts to ask you questions? It’s very common for an officer to ask someone if they know how fast they were driving, for example, when pulling them over for a speed infraction. The police officer may also ask questions like if the driver has had a drink that day or where they are going. If the officer begins to question you, do you have to answer?

Your right to remain silent

There are some pieces of information that you have to provide to a police officer during a traffic stop. The officer will likely need to see your registration for the vehicle. They may want to see your proof of insurance. They’re also going to ask you for your driver’s license just so that they can identify you and to prove that you are legally licensed to be behind the wheel in the first place. In the majority of cases, you are obligated to provide this information and documentation.

After that, though, you do have a right to remain silent. You don’t have to answer questions and you definitely don’t have to incriminate yourself. The officer may be trying to get you to do so – hoping that you will admit to speeding or drinking and driving, for instance – so you can simply tell them that you don’t want to talk without your lawyer present.

You may still get arrested, even if you exercise your right to remain silent. If so, then you’ll need to know about all of the legal defense options at your disposal.