4 Rights You Have When You Are Pulled Over By Police

It's scary to get pulled over by a police officer. As soon as you see those red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror, you get that funny feeling in your stomach – even if you haven't done anything wrong. It helps, though, if you know what your rights are during a traffic stop.

Right #1: To Avoid Saying Anything That Could Incriminate You.

The 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution protects you against self-incrimination. Therefore, when you are pulled over by an officer, and he or she asks if you know why you were stopped, you have the right to say "No." While you may have an assumption or even know for that matter, you don't have to say that. In fact, it is probably best that you don't say anything.

Other examples include the officer asking if you know the rate of speed at which you were driving or if you have been drinking. The answers that you provide to the questions that an officer asks you after pulling you over can be used against you in a court of law.

Right #2: To Decline Field Sobriety Tests.

More often than not, officers tend to make you believe that it is mandatory to submit to field sobriety tests. However, this simply is not true. You have the right to decline them. They make you believe that if you submit to the tests and they turn out that they'll let you go. However, in reality, officers will still likely end up arresting you. Just make sure that you are polite, rather than rude or argumentative, with the officers throughout the process of declining the field sobriety tests.

Right #3: To Refuse a Breath Test.

Aside from the field sobriety tests, officers may request that you take a preliminary breath test. This is when you have to breathe into a small, handheld device. While this is not really a right that you have, since you will likely end up receiving a ticket upon refusal and maybe even a fine, you can refuse to take the roadside breath test.

Right #4: To Refuse Consent of a Vehicle Search.

Under the 4th Amendment, as a United States citizen, you are protected from an unwarranted search and seizure. Police will require a search warrant to search your vehicle if they do not have probable cause. However, they are fully trained at finding that probable cause so that they can conduct a vehicle search.

If an officer simply requests to look inside your vehicle, you have the right to refuse. If they try to do it without even asking permission, politely let them know that they do not have consent. If you are arrested, then the police can, and likely will, search your vehicle. 

If you were pulled over and charged with a DUI, you need the help of the best DUI attorney to look at whether your rights were violated when the police pulled you over. If the police didn't act according to the law, then the DUI charge may be invalid. But you will need a good lawyer to prove this and fight for your rights.