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Why do police officers ask if you know how fast you were going?

Posted by Bulldog Law | May 06, 2024 | 0 Comments

Much of the time, when a police officer pulls someone over for speeding, they have already used a radar gun to detect that person's speed. For instance, police officers will park on the side of the interstate and use radar to track all of the vehicles that go by. They only pull someone over when they already know that a violation has occurred.

Even so, when the police officer gets to the window to talk to that driver, they'll probably ask them “Do you know how fast you were going?” It's one of the most common questions that officers ask during a traffic stop. But why do they even do it if they have already recorded the vehicle's speed? What is the point of asking the driver? 

They're trying to get you to incriminate yourself

If you're in this situation, the officer is not asking you the question because they need more information or because they're curious. All they're trying to do is get you to incriminate yourself. If you say that, yes, you know exactly how fast you were going, you then admit to breaking the speed limit intentionally and willfully. The officer has that admission on record and it can be used against you.

It's not just speed that leads police officers to use this tactic. Another example is if the officer suspects that you are impaired and asks if you've had anything to drink today. If you admit that you have been drinking – even if it was hours ago and you're no longer intoxicated – then you may incriminate yourself on drunk driving allegations.

Often, it is best not to talk to police officers at all, outside of identifying yourself and providing the proper paperwork. If you do have to answer questions, then you may want to request to have your legal team present and use your right to remain silent.

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