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How do the police gather evidence during a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | DUI/DWI

When the police stop a vehicle they can collect evidence to incriminate the driver. The police have several methods of collecting evidence. However, drivers also have certain rights that protect them from criminal charges.

Here is how the police gather evidence during a traffic stop: 

Questions about a driver’s condition

The police often begin by asking drivers questions. These questions may concern the driver’s current condition, if they had been drinking, if they had recently left a bar or where they are planning on going. 

Drivers do not have to answer the police. Instead, they can plead the Fifth, which protects them from self-incriminating statements. Pleading the Fifth clarifies to the police that a driver will not make any statements, but they will continue to cooperate.  

Field and chemical sobriety tests

The police may ask a driver to perform a field sobriety test. This is a physical examination of a driver to see if they show any signs of inebriation.

Alternatively, they may ask a driver to submit a breath, blood or urine chemical sobriety test. These tests evaluate the blood alcohol content (BAC) in the body. If a driver’s BAC is above the legal limit, then they could face arrest and criminal charges.

Vehicle search

The police may also search a vehicle for alcohol or drugs. However, the police either must have the permission of a driver, a warrant or have made a lawful arrest before they can perform a search. Any evidence collected from an unreasonable search may be admissible in court. 

If you believe your legal rights were violated during a traffic stop, you can reach out for legal help to learn about your defense options.