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.
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.
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 have any worries or complaints that your civil rights were violated during a traffic stop, you will need to know which officers were responsible for allegedly violating your rights. You can always ask a police officer for her badge number during a traffic stop.
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.
While under normal circumstances, most drivers are fully allowed to exercise their civil rights during a traffic stop, including refusal to answer questions, allow a search of the vehicle, or offer any other potentially incriminating evidence, many states take a completely different stance from an administrative standpoint.
During a traffic stop, you will probably be asked for your driver’s license and insurance. The law requires that you identify yourself when stopped for an infraction or ordinance. Failing to ID yourself can lead to an arrest and criminal charges for Refusal to Identify, a class C misdemeanor.
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.
Traffic Laws. Obviously, violating traffic laws is a good way to attract the attention of police officers. At the same time, driving below an already under posted speed limit, signaling a turn a half a mile before turning or not taking your turn at a stop sign will also attract attention.
The rules and regulations regarding traffic stops can be complex, and it's important to be aware of your rights and responsibilities. If you have questions about a traffic stop, or if you want to know what the rules are before that happens, you can consult with a skilled traffic ticket lawyer in your area today.
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