Blog Post

DO I HAVE TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS IF I GET PULLED OVER? CAN I REFUSE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS?

Do I have to answer any questions if I get pulled over?

This question was submitted to me by Andy M.

One day, or night, it may happen to you. You may be driving home from work or an evening with friends when something distracts you. You look away from the road for just a moment and then when you look back up you have drifted out of your lane. You quickly correct by steering sharply back into the proper lane.

But, unknown to you there is a police car following you. There is no reason you would have known this, or even cared. You know you are not intoxicated, or even close.

But the flashing lights come on and you pull to the curb. Now you are faced with a number of decisions. The officer who is approaching you is going to ask you questions. Do you have to answer? No, you do not.

One question that is frequently asked is, “Do you know why I stopped you?” What does the officer expect you to say? I don’t know. But why answer? You don’t have to.

You see many times the officer is just fishing for clues. He or she has no idea what your response will be but they use this Q&A to come to other conclusions. Is your speech slurred? Do they smell alcohol when you talk?

Another thing they might ask is where you are coming from or where are you going? You do not have to answer those questions, either. Here is the thing to remember, you have no idea whether the police officer who has stopped you is a good cop or a cowboy.

Above all, just be polite. You can simply say that your lawyer has told you not to have any conversations when you are pulled over. If you have not been drinking at all then chances are they will not even ask you to take the roadside tests. If you have been drinking, even just a little, it will really help if you do not engage the officer in conversation.

I will have more about this in later blog posts.

If you have a question you would like answered, send it to me at wayne.schoeneberg@gmail.com. Please put “Answer My Question” in the subject line.