Flex Your Rights (Flex), a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, was launched in 2002. Our mission is to educate the public about how basic Bill of Rights protections apply during encounters with law enforcement.
What are your rights during a traffic stop and, realistically, should you exercise them? CNN asks legal and law enforcement analysts for the best approach.
Understanding your rights during a traffic stop is important. How you exercise them, however, can be the difference between a brief inconvenience and a long, drawn-out affair that causes you a great deal of difficulty.
Traffic stops can be time consuming, stressful, and can put your civil rights to the test. Since traffic stops are among the most common law enforcement interactions people have, it is also the most common time people choose to enforce their civil liberties. If you choose to, make sure you do it with the knowledge you need. The best way to protect your rights is to know them and to be confident in your knowledge.
During the stress of a traffic stop, many motorists become overly friendly and talkative as a means to relieve anxiety. Resist the urge. You are under no obligation to provide the officer with any information beyond that on your driver’s license, vehicle registration, or proof of insurance.
Many drivers are unaware or unsure at best of their legal rights prior, during, and following a traffic stop with law enforcement, and oftentimes, these individuals do not know their legal rights if they get pulled over.
During one traffic stop in January, Jan Beck took two left turns at traffic lights and waited to stop until she pulled into a parking lot. What she did wasn't illegal, but not ideal.