No driver enjoys encountering a traffic stop. Nevertheless, it can be beneficial to understand your rights and learn how to interact with law enforcement if they pull you over.
The following tips can help you deal with the police under a variety of circumstances.
Speaking with law enforcement
When law enforcement pulls you over, communicating respectfully is a good idea. You should avoid giving the police any reason to find your behavior suspicious or threatening. Having your license, registration and proof of insurance in a convenient location can facilitate your interactions. Remember that you have the right to remain silent, and you can politely decline to answer incriminating questions. You do not need to confirm that you violated any traffic laws. In addition, you do not have to answer if an officer asks about your destination or where you live.
Roadside sobriety testing
Similar to other questions, you can refuse to respond to questions regarding drinking. Although it is illegal in Pennsylvania to drive while intoxicated if you have a blood alcohol concentration above .08, you can drive if your BAC is below the legal limit. Affirming that you have been drinking may result in the police requesting further testing. In addition, you do not have to comply with roadside field sobriety tests and portable breath tests, which may be unreliable. However, if law enforcement brings you to a DUI processing center or police station, refusing blood, urine or breath testing can lead to serious legal consequences, including a lengthy license suspension.
It is important to behave politely during a traffic stop. However, you should also safeguard your rights and avoid self-incrimination.