Police Lights flashing when a phoenix resident is pulled over

Beyond “99 Problems”: What Rights Do You Really Have When You Get Pulled Over?

When Jay-Z released his song “99 Problems” in 2003, it garnered acclaim for its verses about rights during traffic stops. Unfortunately, it is not an accurate reflection of your rights during a traffic stop. Everyone should know their rights during a traffic stop, and this post will lay them out.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

One of the most important things to remember is that, if you are stopped by the police, you have the right to remain silent. This means that you do not have to answer questions from the police officer, like, “What have you been doing tonight?” You can simply say in response, “Respectfully, officer, I’d like to remain silent” or, “I’d like to speak to my attorney.” Moreover, your silence cannot be used against you in court. It is important to note that in many states, including Arizona, if a police officer asks you for your address, date of birth, and name, you are required to provide that information.

You Can Refuse to Consent to a Vehicle Search

If the officer asks you, “Is it okay if I look around your car?” you should know the officer is making a request to search your vehicle. You have the right to refuse this request. You can simply say, “Respectfully officer, I will not consent to a search of my vehicle.” However, you there are a number of ways an officer can search your car without your consent or without a warrant. One of the most important ways is if officers have probable cause to believe your car contains evidence of a crime or contraband. Generally, probable cause exists when there is a reasonable basis for believing that a car was involved in a crime, or when evidence of that crime may be present in the car.

If You Are Not Under Arrest, You Have the Right to Leave

It is very important to know that if you are not placed under arrest, you have the right to end the encounter and leave. If you have been pulled over for speeding, for example, you may leave as soon as the officer has given you your warning or ticket. If a significant amount of time has passed since you were pulled over and you have not been given a warning or ticket, or if the officer continues to ask you questions after giving you a warning or ticket, you can say, “Respectfully, officer, if I am not being placed under arrest I would like to leave.”

If You Are Arrested, You Have the Right to an Attorney

Finally, if you are arrested, you have the right to an attorney. Do not answer any questions if you are arrested, and immediately ask for an attorney. You do not have to answer questions until you have an attorney present. If you cannot afford one, the court can appoint one for you.

What Should You Do if You Are Arrested in a Traffic Stop?

If you are arrested, do not answer any questions and always invoke your right to an attorney. The attorneys at Arizona Lawyers are experienced criminal defense attorneys who will fight for your rights and defend you in court. Contact Arizona Lawyers today.