You Have Rights During a Traffic Stop



Being stopped by a police officer can be a stressful experience, even if you have nothing to hide and have done nothing wrong. In all cases, though, remember that you have legal rights.

What You Need To Do

Generally, if you are polite and respectful, the officer will be also. Once you have safely pulled to the side of the road, turn off the engine. Keep your hands visible by placing them on the upper part of the steering wheel. If necessary, keep items out of plain view that might draw more questions. These include: prescription bottles, medicine, rolling papers, scales, baggies and weapons/knives.

If you are pulled over while driving, you must produce a valid driver's license, registration and proof of insurance. You should keep the current registration and proof of insurance in an unsealed envelope in the glove box. You want to easily produce these documents upon request. The shorter duration the traffic stop, the better!

What You Do Not Need To Do

If the officer suspects you have been drinking or are under the influence of a drug, field sobriety tests are often conducted. You do not have to participate in these tests! These tests typically are: one-leg stand, walk and turn, count backward, recite all or portions of the alphabet. If you are arrested for driving under the influence, these test results may hurt any defense to your case.

Answer only the question the officer asks you. Do no lie to the officer, but do not volunteer unnecessary information. You do not have to answer questions that will incriminate yourself. For example, if an officer asks, "Do you know how fast you were driving?" And the truthful answer is 110 mph, you can simply answer, "Respectfully, officer I do not have to answer that question." An apology can be as damaging as an admission.

Do not let the consequences of a traffic citation spiral out of control. We can help.

To schedule a free consultation, contact us 24 hours a day by calling 619-796-3680 or submit an online contact request.

Contact an Attorney

If you have been issued a citation or arrested, consult with an attorney regarding the specific facts of your case as soon as possible. Mr. Kleven can determine if police respected your legal rights, and may challenge the citation.

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