If you are driving and see the red and blue lights of police behind you, you can be stressed out and upset. Under these circumstances, some people say things that make the situation worse for themselves. You can avoid this by refraining from making the following statements during a traffic stop.
“Sure, you can search my car.”
Police can – and often do – ask to search inside vehicles during a traffic stop. They might say, “You have nothing to hide, right? So, you don’t mind if I search your car?”
Even if you have done nothing wrong, refusing a warrantless search is crucial. When you allow police to search your car without a warrant, they can find things you didn’t know were in your vehicle. Further, the search can extend the length of the stop, giving police more time to interact with you, which you generally want to avoid.
While there are exceptions, police need either a warrant or your permission to conduct a search. Clearly and politely stating that you do not consent to a vehicle search can help you protect yourself and your rights.
“I just had a drink with dinner.”
Police officers often have a lot of questions for drivers. While you may want to be honest and forthcoming with them, beyond providing the officer with your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance if they ask, you do not need to answer any questions.
Admitting you had a drink with dinner or that you were just heading home from a work party may seem harmless, but statements like this can make law enforcement agents suspicious. They might hear “party” or “drink” and assume you are intoxicated or impaired, giving them more reason to make an arrest.
Derogatory, argumentative statements
Insulting or fighting with an officer rarely ends well. It can make them angry and more eager to arrest you.
Even if an officer is less than friendly, be respectful and avoid escalating language and statements. The side of the road generally is not going to be where you resolve suspected rights violations or negotiate with the police. Instead, be polite and decline to answer questions without an attorney.
Saying these things can make a bad situation worse. Even if you do get arrested, avoiding these statements can help you defend yourself against any criminal accusations that may arise.