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If you get pulled over, do you have to answer questions?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When the lights from the police car come on behind your vehicle, you may not be sure why you’re getting pulled over. Did you break the speed limit? Were you drifting out of your lane? Did the officer think you rolled through a stop sign?

Naturally, this can be concerning and you may be worried about getting a ticket or even getting arrested. When the officer comes up to your window, they are going to ask you a number of questions. Do you actually have to answer these questions or do you risk incriminating yourself?

Providing identification

To begin with, you do have to provide identification to the police officer if you are the driver of the car. All drivers are required by the state to be fully licensed. You need to provide your driver’s license to show that it’s legal for you to be driving the vehicle and to identify yourself to the officer. You will also likely be obligated to hand over your proof of insurance and your vehicle’s registration paperwork.

Your right to remain silent

Beyond that, however, you do have a right to remain silent. You don’t have to answer questions about where you’re going or where you’re coming from. You don’t have to tell the officer if you’ve had anything to drink. You don’t have to guess at how fast you were driving if the officer asks if you knew. You can simply tell them that you would rather not answer any questions without your lawyer.

You may still end up getting arrested or being given a significant ticket, so it’s important to know what legal steps to take afterward.