When you get pulled over, you have to talk to the police – at least for a short time. You’re required, as a driver in the state of California, to give them your identification. You’ll need to provide the registration for the vehicle and proof that you have insurance. Remember that all drivers are obligated to do this, so it is usually best simply to provide this information when requested.
However, after that, people sometimes make mistakes that put them in a difficult situation. To help you avoid doing so, here are three tips for talking to the police.
1. Be polite
First and foremost, even if you’re frustrated that you were pulled over, be courteous and polite to the police officer. Don’t escalate the situation or allow it to turn emotional. Your best option is to just calmly hand over your identification and listen to what the officer has to say. Debate any allegations in court, not on the side of the road.
2. Follow their instructions
One mistake people make is ignoring instructions from the police or acting in a way that they haven’t asked. For instance, drivers will sometimes unexpectedly get out of the car to talk to the police officer. Instead, follow the instructions and don’t do anything that could be seen as aggressive or out of the norm.
3. Don’t answer questions
Finally, remember that you do not have to answer any other questions. You have a right to remain silent. You can simply inform the officer that you’d like to have your legal team present before you say anything else, and they cannot compel you to answer.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be arrested, of course. If you are, be sure you know what legal steps to take.