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Common mistakes that drivers make during traffic stops

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2024 | DWI/DUI |

Being pulled over by a police officer can be nerve-wracking, but it is an experience that many Texas motorists will go through sooner or later. When it happens to you, the things that you say and do when he or she approaches your vehicle can greatly affect the outcome. If you hope to continue on your way without getting a ticket or being arrested, you should do your best to avoid the mistakes that many motorists make. The most common types of traffic stop mistakes are becoming argumentative and belligerent with the police officer and forgoing rights protected by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

Belligerent behavior

Police officers assigned to highway duty make hundreds of traffic stops every year. This means that there is very little you can say to them that they have not heard many times before. You may be angry if you are pulled over, but you should resist the urge to become confrontational. If you tell the police officer that your taxes pay their salary or they should be investigating real crimes instead of harassing law-abiding motorists, your chances of being given a warning instead of a ticket will be greatly reduced. Instead, you should do your best to remain polite and courteous.

The Fourth and Fifth Amendments

The Fourth Amendment protects you against unreasonable government searches and seizures. If you give up this right by consenting to a warrantless search during a traffic stop, anything the police officer discovers can be used in court against you. The Fifth Amendment allows you to remain silent if you are questioned by the police. If you give up this right during a traffic stop, anything you say will become evidence. You should be especially cautious about answering questions if you are suspected of a serious criminal offense like DUI because anything you say could be introduced at trial.

Avoiding a ticket

Your primary objective if you are pulled over by the police should be avoiding a ticket or arrest. The best way to accomplish this goal is to empathize with the police officer and treat them with respect. Becoming angry will only make things worse. While you should try to remain courteous at all times, you should decline to answer questions that could incriminate you and refuse requests to search your vehicle.