New Driver's Guide To Common Traffic Stop Misconceptions

Posted on: 28 November 2016

As a fairly new driver, it's important that you understand your rights and the legal expectations of traffic stops. There are many misconceptions out there about what is and is not legal when you're pulled over by the police. Here are a few things you should understand about traffic stops and your rights.

You Don't Have To Consent To A Search

In order for law enforcement officers to search you or your car, they have to have probable cause. That means that the officer must have some reasonable suspicion that you're in possession of or have done something illegal. In those cases, he or she can search your car without your authorization. If, however, the officer doesn't have probable cause, he or she needs your consent to search. You don't have to give that consent, though. You can request that the officer obtain a search warrant before actually searching your car.

You Can Legally Refuse A Breathalyzer

You are not legally obligated to take a breathalyzer test if the officer requests that you do so. It is important to note, however, that your right to refuse the test may be met with a suspension of your license for doing so. In addition, refusing the breathalyzer doesn't eliminate your chances of facing a DUI charge. If the officer has sufficient evidence, such as a failed field sobriety test, he or she can still charge you.

You Don't Have To Be Over The Legal Limit To Be Charged

Many people mistakenly believe that they cannot be charged with driving under the influence if their blood alcohol content is below 0.08. The fact is, you can still be charged with driving under the influence if the officer has any reason to consider your driving impaired.

You Don't Have To Answer Questions

There is an overwhelming belief that if a police officer asks a question, you are legally obligated to answer it. The truth is that you have the legal right to refuse to answer any questions, including those as simple as "Where are you going?"

These are a few of the most common things that many new drivers are unaware of. With the information here and the help of a traffic violation attorney, you can evaluate any ticket you've received or charges you're facing with a solid understanding of your rights and the situation at hand. This information may even allow you to fight the ticket or the charges successfully. For more information, contact a traffic violations attorney.