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3 constitutional rights during traffic stops

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Criminal Defense

A large number of people don’t know their constitutional rights. It can be important to familiarize yourself with your rights during a traffic stop. If you find out that your rights were violated, then it could help you create a legal defense.

Here’s what you should know about each constitutional amendment right that might be used during a traffic stop:

Your First Amendment rights

Citizens have freedom of speech and the right to protest under the First Amendment. Furthermore, you have the right to record the police during traffic stops. Recording the police can help you collect evidence proving that an officer of the law violated your rights by abusing their power. For example, if the police unlawfully searched your vehicle during a traffic stop, then you may have caught it on video. This right may be limited, such as if a recording or picture directly interfered with an officer’s duty.

Your Fourth Amendment rights

The police can search a vehicle during a traffic stop. However, the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from having their person, home or vehicle unreasonably searched and seized. For the police to search a car during a traffic stop, they may require permission from the driver, a warrant or reasons to believe that a crime was committed. An unlawful search could cause collected evidence to be inadmissible in court.

Your Fifth Amendment rights

The police can ask drivers questions during traffic stops. This allows them to gather evidence. A driver doesn’t have to answer the police under the Fifth Amendment. This constitutional right allows people to refrain from making self-incriminating comments that might be used against them in court. 

A traffic stop does not give the police the right to violate your constitutional rights. You may need to get legal help to create a defense against criminal charges.