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What are your rights during a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Criminal Defense

If someone is driving recklessly or violates traffic laws, the police can pull the vehicle over. This can be startling for many drivers, especially for people who are being pulled over by the police for the first time.

It can help drivers to remember that they have constitutional rights that they can exercise during traffic stops. This can protect people from facing severe criminal charges. Here’s what you should know:

The right to remain silent

Under the Fifth Amendment, drivers have the right to refrain from making comments that might be used against them in a court of law. Drivers may mistakenly make comments as the police question them, which could link them to other crimes. When the police start questioning a driver, the driver can “plead the Fifth.” Pleading the Fifth is a simple way of stating that a driver is willing to cooperate but not make any self-incriminating comments.

The right against illegal searches

The Fourth Amendment protects people from the police conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. The police must meet certain criteria before searching a vehicle. This can be done if the police get permission from a driver, have a warrant or believe that a crime was committed. Without any of these, evidence collected in an illegal search could be inadmissible.

The right to record the police

Drivers have the right to record the police under the First Amendment. This can help create a legal defense for drivers who believe that the police violated the law or abused their power. If the recording interferes with the police officer’s duty, then a driver may not be able to record the police.

Understanding these legal rights can help you create a legal defense if you believe your rights were violated during a traffic stop.