It is often a bad day when an officer pulls you over as you are driving. Whether you are in the wrong for something or not, it is a situation that can cause anxiety.
In the moment, you may forget that you have rights in place to protect you in this type of situation. It is easy to just follow along with anything the officer wants. However, if you wish to protect yourself and avoid potential complications with criminal charges, you need to exercise your rights, which include the right to remain silent.
The Fifth Amendment
One of the most important rights to remember is your right to remain silent. You always have this right when talking with law enforcement officers, even during a routine traffic stop. You do not have to answer any questions or say anything that you do not want.
This right comes from the U.S. Constitution in the Fifth Amendment that states you do not have to be a witness against yourself. Answering questions an officer asks could compel you to provide evidence against yourself, which is why you do not have to speak with the officer.
If you find yourself in a situation where an officer pulls your vehicle over, then you should always be polite. Do not mistake that for being compliant, though. If the officer asks you questions or insists that you answer him or her simply state that you wish to use your Fifth Amendment rights and remain silent. Say it calmly and without getting combative to avoid escalating the situation.