“Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?”
This question initially seems normal; an officer of the law wants you to recognize the thing you did wrong. Unfortunately, this classic traffic stop opening is a trick question that’s meant to catch drivers off guard before they have time to remember their fifth amendment rights.
If people answer the question and suppose why officers pulled them over, their answers could be used against them in a court of law. For example, if someone were to say, “because I ran a red light,” the cop now has a stated confession from the accused. This kind of confession will not result in an automatic conviction, but it’s not good for the defendant’s case.
“Where Are You Coming From?”
This question seems innocent, but it’s a critical part of the investigative process. Officers want to know where people are coming from so they can draw conclusions about their whereabouts.
Suppose an officer has a hunch that someone is intoxicated, if the person says they are coming from brunch, a bar, or a club, you can now expect the cop to be on high alert. Historically speaking, having a cop think you’re guilty isn’t good for your case or your traffic stop.
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“Can I Search Your Car”
Many people believe cops can search cars during traffic stops, but that’s only semi-true. Cops can only search vehicles during traffic stops when they establish probable cause.
In short, no probable cause, no possession search.
Can a Cop Ask to Search My Car?
Unfortunately, cops can ask citizens if they can search their cars because, if a driver consents to the search, the officer established probable cause. Therefore, if a cop asks to search your things, respectfully decline your consent.
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