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What can’t the police do during a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

The law gives police certain rights to serve the community and protect people. To perform their duties, the police may stop vehicles if they suspect a driver is drunk. While law enforcement has certain legal powers, they do not have the authority to do whatever they want.

Drivers should be aware of what the police can and can not do during a traffic stop. Here is what you should know:

The police can not force you to answer questions

It is not uncommon for the police to ask people questions during traffic stops. These questions may be related to where a driver is going to or coming from, if they were drinking or if they are carrying any bottles of alcohol or other substances with them. The police use these questions to gather evidence against drivers suspected of breaking laws.

Drivers do not have to answer any of these questions, especially under suggested threats or force. Under the Fifth Amendment, drivers have the right to remain silent. Responding to any questions from the police truthfully or dishonestly could lead to self-incrimination. By pleading the Fifth, drivers are clarifying that they are willing to cooperate with the police but will not make any statements.

The police can not forcibly search a vehicle 

Another way the police can gather evidence against drivers is by searching their vehicles. If the police search a person’s vehicle and find illicit substances, open bottles of alcohol or incriminating material, the driver could be charged and penalized. However, the police can not unreasonably search a vehicle.

To search a vehicle, the police must have permission from the drivers. If the police do not receive permission, they will have to find other methods to search a vehicle. For example, the police could search a vehicle if they have a warrant or if they have made a lawful arrest. 

If a driver’s rights are violated during a traffic stop, the driver can take legal action. Drivers can benefit from reaching out for legal help to understand their options. 

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