If a motorist is pulled over for an alleged traffic violation, they need to understand their basic rights. Law enforcement will often try to circumvent restrictive laws to reach the end result they are looking for. In some cases, a police officer may even bully or manipulate the motorist to such a degree that they confess to a crime they may not have committed. This could result in that person needing the services of a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa.
When it comes to traffic stops, it’s best to let the police officer do most of the talking; however, sometimes the first words out of the police officer’s mouth can lead to the incriminating response they are hoping for. As most of us have experienced, the officer approaches your window and asks if you know why they “stopped you.” Answering this question alone may seal your fate.
Many honest, law-abiding motorists with a guilty conscience will over analyze their current predicament. They will become overly critical of their driving skills or consider how they potentially violated the law. In some cases, the police officer’s aggressive tone of voice will intimidate the motorist into responding to the question because they want to satisfy the officer and potentially alleviate the escalating situation. Unfortunately, in many cases, this only creates more problems for the motorist.
Whether it’s admitting to changing lanes without a blinker, slightly going over the speed limit, not coming to a full stop, or another minor traffic offense, the end result is that the motorist has just implicated themselves to a traffic violation. On a grander scale, this could mean that the motorist agrees to an unlawful search of their vehicle or is arrested for an incident completely unrelated to the reason why they were pulled over in the first place.
In many cases, the officer may not have been aware that any infraction had actually transpired when they pulled over the vehicle and was simply fishing for the motorists to voluntarily divulge any incriminating evidence to the officer. Although it’s important to be honest, respectful, and cooperative with the police officer, it’s also important to not give the officer any authority beyond their jurisdiction. As the old saying goes, “give an inch and they’ll take a mile.”
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.