Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law

Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law


Protecting Clients’ Rights. Working To Solve Problems.

What are your rights at a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2023 | Criminal Defense, DWI Defense

Police officers conduct routine traffic stops, which can escalate to an arrest when Arkansas drivers do not understand their constitutional rights. While you should pull over and be polite to the officer, you should still learn to use your rights appropriately and respectfully.

You have a right against unreasonable seizure

A police officer may stop a vehicle if they reasonably suspect that the driver or car has a connection to a crime or if the driver violated traffic rules and regulations. They may conduct a traffic stop even for minor traffic violations, such as the following:

  • Speeding
  • Talking on the cell phone (distracted driving)
  • Expired vehicle registration
  • Broken taillights

However, discrimination against any driver on the road is illegal. An officer cannot seize or stop a car because of the driver’s race. Similarly, they cannot pull over an individual just because they saw that person leaving a bar. The suspected drunk driver would have to be driving recklessly or questionably for an officer to stop the vehicle. If the police officer has no reason to arrest you or to prolong the seizure, you can politely ask to leave. Passengers may also request to leave if the police officer has no reasonable suspicion to connect the passenger to a crime.

You have a right against an illegal search

If a police officer wanted to search your vehicle, they would need your consent first unless they have probable cause. Refusing a search does not give the officer probable cause. You simply value your privacy. An officer with probable cause to search your vehicle would not need your consent. Therefore, they would not have to ask for it.

You have the right to remain silent

The police officer may ask you if you know why they pulled you over, and you do not have to know why they did. In fact, you can say you do not know and wait for them to provide an answer. The less information you voluntarily provide, the less chance you have of incriminating yourself.

Police officers can take advantage of a driver who does not know their rights. Remember that you also have the right to an attorney and do not have to say anything until your attorney is present.