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Why word choice is so important during a traffic stop

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2018 | Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving

You may be among those in Mississippi who consider themselves men or women of few words, meaning you tend to be on the quiet side and perhaps, only speak when spoken to. On the other hand, you might be in a category that includes adults who have gotten in trouble for their most of their lives for talking too much or for saying the wrong things at the wrong time.

Most people’s lives include moments where choosing words carefully is critical to obtaining a positive outcome whether they’re a seasoned conversationalist or on the introverted side. One such time would be during a traffic stop. What you say to the officer overseeing the situation can greatly affect the result. It’s a good idea to think of this type of potential situation ahead of time, to make sure you know your rights and learn what to do or not do when an officer detains you.

Comments you should never make to police

You might think that speaking your mind or outwitting your opponent, so-to-speak, is the best way to avoid getting a traffic ticket or worse, facing arrest. However, most people in similar past situations have found it’s best to cooperate and maintain a respectful demeanor toward police. The following list includes types of statements people have made to police that you definitely want to avoid if you hope to mitigate your circumstances:

  • Making flippant remarks, such as reminding an officer that taxpayers pay his or her salary is likely to make your situation a lot worse.
  • Telling a patrol officer that you have connections at the local police department not only may not sit well, the officer may consider it a threatening remark.
  • Comparing yourself to another driver is never a good idea. If the officer is talking to you, he or she is not currently concerned how fast another vehicle might have been traveling at the time he or she pulled you over.
  • Denying the speed the officer says you were traveling will no doubt work against you. You do have a right to ask to see the radar gun display, if the officer used one, as well as to request information regarding when the officer last calibrated the device.
  • While you are under no legal obligation to take preliminary an alcohol-screening test during a traffic stop, you do violate implied consent laws if you refuse a Breathalyzer.
  • Never insult a police officer’s personal appearance. There is no potential positive outcome for rude behavior during a traffic stop.

You may also want to avoid answering questions, such as those pertaining to whether or not you consumed alcohol on a given day. If you think it’s best to tell the truth by replying that you had “one or two” drinks, it may wind up landing you in jail and facing criminal charges for drunk driving, which doesn’t necessarily mean you will face conviction, but why gamble? It’s far better to choose your words carefully to avoid self-incrimination.

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