Getting pulled over by a police officer is a stressful experience, but there is no reason to make it more difficult than it already is. Drivers who spot flashing lights in their rearview mirrors can do themselves a favor by avoiding saying these three things.
“Go ahead and search my car”
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures by police officers. You waive that right at your own peril. Even if you have nothing to hide, there is no reason to give a police officer an inch when he or she may very well end up taking a mile.
The situation changes if the police officer has a warrant to search your property or reasonable suspicion that you may have committed a crime or are about to put someone in danger. Then they have the right to search your vehicle. But if they ask for your consent, it is generally wise to politely refuse.
“I pay your salary”
Emotions may run high during a traffic stop, but insulting a police officer will only make the situation worse. Being rude is not a crime, but under certain circumstances a police officer could claim that your pointed statement was an attempt to start a fight or cover up a crime. Remain courteous to avoid escalating the situation.
“I was only…”
No matter how you finish this statement, you are probably admitting to committing a criminal offense. “I was only going 10 miles per hour above the speed limit,” “I was only under the influence of a prescription drug,” “I only took one drag.” You may think that by admitting to a minor infraction the police officer will play nice and let you off the hook. In reality, you are opening the door to a criminal arrest. You should never admit to anything without first consulting with an experienced criminal law attorney.
People who remain calm in these situations are taking the first step to putting a potential criminal matter behind them. If the stop turns into an arrest, the next step is to mount a strong and intelligent legal defense.