5 Questions Officers Ask That You Don’t Have to Answer
When you get pulled over, it is common for law enforcement officers to ask you for several items, such as your driver’s license and your registration information. They may try to ask you several other questions as well, but you should know what your rights are. Answering these questions could actually give an officer a reason to cite or even arrest you.
1. How Much Have You Been Drinking?
This question actually takes many forms. For example, an officer could ask you where you are going or where you have just been. No matter what the question is, keep in mind that you do not have to answer. Even responding reasonably and honestly can give an officer evidence to use against you in the event you have to go to court.
2. Do You Realize How Fast You Were Driving?
This can be especially tricky. If you tell an officer that you do not know how fast you were going, it is possible that the prosecution could argue that you were unsafe because you were not paying attention to speed. You could simply tell an officer that you know your rights and that you only need to give him or her your information.
3. Can You Tell Me Why I Pulled Over Your Vehicle?
This is usually one of the first questions an officer will ask. It is also a very easy way for drivers in incriminate themselves. Responding by stating that you were driving too fast or swerving could be viewed as an admission of guilt. The law enforcement officer will tell you why you were pulled over regardless of your answer. Therefore, you may as well respond with “No.”
4. Can I Look in Your Trunk/Backseat/Car?
Unless an officer has probable cause to believe that you have broken a law, he or she is not permitted to search your vehicle or your person. If you sense that an officer is trying to search your vehicle unlawfully, you can say that you do not consent to the search. Keep in mind that you should never try to physically prevent an officer from searching a vehicle, as it could result in a very serious charge.
5. Will You Keep Your Eyes on the Tip of This Pen?
This is one way that an officer will initially try to assess your sobriety without formally conducting a field sobriety test. All field sobriety tests in South Carolina are voluntary, which means you do not have to take them. However, there can still be consequences for refusing a field sobriety test.
When you know your basic rights, you are much better equipped to avoid unnecessary and costly traffic violations. Our team at Nosal & Jeter, LLP understands the serious implications even minor charges carries. We can evaluate your case and look for ways to get your ticket dismissed or reduced.