Can I refuse to a cop answer during a traffic stop?
Many Arizona drivers would not think twice before answering an officer’s questions during a traffic stop. This isn’t surprising, because getting pulled over is an intimidating situation, especially if you don’t know your rights.
Here’s the thing, though—answering questions can incriminate you. You do not automatically have to provide an officer with verbal details. There are certain questions (many, in fact) that you can refuse to answer during a traffic stop.
Can I Refuse to Answer a Cop During a Traffic Stop?
When asking yourself, “Can I refuse to answer a cop,” during a traffic stop, keep in mind the general answer is: “Yes!”
You will have to provide the officer with your driver’s license, proof of registration, and proof of your car insurance. If they ask you to roll down your window, you do not have to roll it down all the way—all you need to do is roll it down far enough to slip out the proofs and your license. There are some commonly asked questions you don’t have to answer.
Questions You Can Refuse to Answer
- “Where are you coming from?”
- “Where are you headed?”
- “Have you been drinking tonight?”
- “What is that smell?”
- “Do you have illegal substances in the car?”
- “Where do you live?”
You may say, “Officer, I politely refuse to answer your question.” Or, “I wish to remain silent.” If questioned again after being handed a ticket, an appropriate response can be, “Am I free to go, officer?”
Remain respectful and keep your wits about you. Nervous body language may come across as guilt and make an officer suspicious. Responses to any of the officer’s questions could also incriminate you.
If they ask you, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” you can simply answer, “No,” since any other answer (like an explanation as to why you were speeding) could be taken as an admission of guilt.
In most situations refusing to answer an officer’s questions does not give them probable cause to arrest you. Feel free to keep your details to yourself.
Questions You Must Answer:
- “Do you have a gun in the car?”
In Arizona, you may openly carry a handgun and you do not need a license to conceal and carry. You can also drive with your gun in the glovebox or trunk. Until the officer asks, you don’t have to disclose the fact that you have a gun. However, as soon as you’re asked, tell the officer the truth. Here are some tips to follow if you get pulled over with the gun in the car.
Tips When Being Pulled Over
When an officer hands you a citation or a complaint, you should sign it. This is to protect you from being arrested. Signing a ticket is not an admission of guilt; however paying a ticket is an admission of guilt. Remember that before paying a traffic ticket. There are options to fight tickets in many situations.
Another simple tip is to never lie to an officer. Refusing to answer is one thing—lying is another. Instead of trying to defend yourself, tell the cops that you are invoking your right to remain silent and that you wish to speak to your lawyer.
If you need a lawyer in the Phoenix and Chandler areas for your traffic offense, you need the Todd Coolidge law firm. Mr. Coolidge has a proven track record of success helping Arizona citizens avoid charges like jail time, probation, loss of license, and more. Trust the best with your case.