Law enforcement will likely ask drivers many questions during a traffic stop. If the police suspect someone was drunk driving, the police may ask if they had been drinking, how much they were drinking, where they were driving from and if they had any alcohol with them. It’s normal to feel nervous when questioned during a traffic stop, even for people who believe they have done nothing wrong.
Tension from a driver can be used to the police’s advantage. A driver may stumble over their words and give the police evidence of a potential crime, such as drunk driving. Drivers who understand their right to plead the Fifth may have a better time handling a traffic stop.
Here’s what you should know:
Understanding your Fifth Amendment rights
Drivers may be required to provide certain documents, such as their driver’s license and registration during a traffic stop. However, drivers do not need to say anything. In fact, the best strategy during a traffic stop may be to plead the Fifth. The Fifth Amendment gives people the right to refuse to state any comments that might lead to self-incrimination.
People who believe they have done nothing wrong may answer the police’s questions. In theory, if a driver has done nothing wrong, then nothing they say could be used against them. However, many people have been wrongly convicted of crimes they did not do because of something they said.
Likewise, some people believe that pleading the Fifth is admitting to guilt. While anyone can plead the Fifth, even people who have committed crimes, it still benefits people who have done nothing wrong. People who plead the Fifth may make fewer mistakes during a criminal investigation and can have more time to build a legal defense.