Got Pulled Over? Speak with Caution.
Getting pulled over is not a favorable situation by any means. Even if you strongly believe that you didn’t break the law, encountering the police can be daunting and frightening, nonetheless. Whether you’ve been pulled over one time or five times in your life, the bottom line is that you should be extremely cautious with how you interact with the police.
As such, we encourage you to avoid saying the following five things at your traffic stop to better prevent a bad situation from getting worse:
“I was going with the speed of traffic”: Even if you were keeping up with the pace of traffic, saying that to an officer may imply that they singled you out and targeted you. Keep in mind that if the speed of traffic tends to be higher in a given area, it would be reasonable for law enforcement agencies to allocate more officers to patrol and enforce speed laws in that area. Thus, if you got pulled over, don’t assume that a police officer is out to “get you,” and you alone.
“I know my rights”: Just because you know your rights doesn’t mean you didn’t break the law. Although you are innocent until proven guilty, claiming that you know your rights may imply that the officer is violating them. With this in mind, the last thing you want to do is question an officer’s integrity at any point in your traffic stop, especially during your initial interaction with them. Thus, you should avoid making unnecessary and implicitly hostile claims such as “I know my rights.”
“You can search my car”: The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures. Unless the police officer has a search warrant or arrest warrant, orhas probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime on your person or property, then you should not permit the officer to search you. Doing so may only make your situation worse. Instead, if an officer asks to search you and/or your car, politely refuse by saying something like “I do not want to be searched in any way,” or “I do not consent to any type of search.”
“I’m sorry”: While it may be a force of habit to apologize when you feel like you did something wrong, know that your apology could be perceived as an admission of guilt. Many people make the mistake of excessively apologizing to an officer as soon as they approach their vehicle before the officer has a chance to say a word. Don’t do this to yourself.
Lies: Never lie to the police. Period. If you do, your words may be used against you in a court of law and subsequently tarnish your chances of fighting your traffic ticket. In addition, lying to a police officer may diminish your credibility and could cause a judge to question your honesty throughout your case.
The content above is not legal advice by any means, as it is written for information purposes only. If you would like to receive legal advice about your situation from our New York traffic violations lawyer, please contact Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C. at (212) 235-1525!