Some drivers don’t understand what happens during a traffic stop. But, many people know that a traffic stop could lead to a criminal charge.
It may help you to learn the following information about traffic stops:
1. The police can perform traffic stops with reasonable suspicion
The police have a right to pull over other vehicles if they have reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed, is being committed or will be committed. In other words, the police can’t pull over vehicles for no reason. For example, a driver who is swerving between lanes, speeding, running red lights or driving recklessly may be pulled over by the police on suspicion of drunk driving.
2. You can plead the Fifth to avoid answering questions
During a traffic stop, the police may ask the driver to answer a few questions. These questions could be related to a driver’s speed, where the driver is going, if the driver is intoxicated or if the driver knew they violated a traffic law. Answering these questions could cause self-incrimination. People can plead the Fifth and politely refuse to answer those questions.
3. Standardized field sobriety tests aren’t accurate or required
If the police suspect a driver is intoxicated, they may ask the driver to do a standardized field sobriety test. These tests are used to help the police determine whether a driver is, in fact, drunk. The driver will do a few physical movements to show that they are capable of driving safely. Because these tests are graded by the police’s best judgment, they can be inaccurate. For example, a medical condition can make a driver fail a field sobriety test.
4. Learning your legal rights could help you avoid a criminal charge
A traffic stop could lead to a criminal charge. If you believe your rights were violated during a traffic stop or you believe you are wrongfully being charged, then you may need to learn your legal rights to a strong defense.