The People’s Lawyer

3 rights to remember during a traffic stop

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Drunk Driving Charges

The police can pull over drivers who are violating traffic laws. While some drivers may go their entire lives without ever being stopped by the police, it’s estimated that 20 million motorists every year will get pulled over by the police. It can be extremely startling for drivers to see the police flash their lights and sound their sirens behind them. 

If you’re pulled over by the police, it can help to remember your constitutional rights. There are three constitutional rights you can exercise during traffic stops: the 1st, 4th and 5th Amendments. Here’s what you should know about each:

Your right to remain silent

The 5th Amendment allows drivers to refrain from making comments to the police. This is important because the police often ask drivers questions to gather evidence. Drivers may make self-incriminating comments that link them to other crimes by answering these questions. Drivers have the right to “plead the Fifth” to clarify that they are willing to cooperate even if they will not answer questions. 

Your right against unreasonable searches

Another way the police gather evidence is by searching vehicles. However, the police don’t have the right to search vehicles without first meeting a few conditions under the 4th Amendment. The police can lawfully search a vehicle if they get permission from the driver, have a warrant, see clear evidence of a crime or have made an arrest. 

Your right to record the police 

Under the 1st Amendment, drivers can record the police to collect evidence proving they abused their power. This evidence can be useful if a driver needs to defend themself in court.

Drivers who had their legal rights violated during a traffic stop can learn about their legal defense options.