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What NOT to say at a traffic stop

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Criminal Defense

If your vehicle is stopped by Pennsylvania law enforcement, you have the right to remain silent, and it’s almost always in your best interest to say as little as possible. Typically, the only thing that you’re required to do is confirm your identity and comply with any lawful requests during the stop.

Don’t admit to consuming alcohol

If you are being pulled over for suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol, you don’t want to admit to drinking any amount of alcohol. An officer can take you into custody regardless of what your blood alcohol content is and will use your words as justification to do so. Ideally, you’ll simply deny that you’ve had anything to drink or simply say nothing when asked about your level of impairment.

Don’t agree to a vehicle search

A vehicle search may lead to an officer discovering an open container in your car or other evidence that can be used against you. Absent your permission, an officer can only look inside your vehicle after obtaining a warrant or if there is probable cause to do so. An example of probable cause would be the presence of an open container in plain view of the officer or the odor of alcohol coming from your person or vehicle.

Don’t make light of the situation

Making a joke may seem like a natural way to reduce tension while interacting with a police officer. However, it may offend the officer or otherwise make it seem as if you don’t understand the gravity of the situation. Ultimately, you may be more likely to get a ticket or be taken into custody for DUI than you would if you simply said nothing.

If charged with DUI, you might spend time in jail or incur a license suspension. A conviction may bring additional jail time, a fine and an extended license suspension or revocation. It may be possible to cast doubt on the charge by asserting that your Fourth Amendment or other rights were violated during a traffic stop.