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  • Writer's pictureJake Kim

What do I say when I get pulled over by a police officer?

Updated: Nov 6, 2021

You’re driving, and you momentarily check your phone. All the sudden you see blaring red and blue fireworks rushing towards you like a bull with horns. Your first instinct is to freeze.

Once your car is stopped you hear two knocks on your window. This is not the joke where you can answer, “who’s there?” Then comes the million-dollar question ….

“You know why I pulled you over?”

Well, what do you now ?

Step One: Remain clam. Your nervousness can be used against you. Anything you blurt out before the officer asks you any questions can be used against you.

Step Two: Know what the officers can ask of you.

In New Jersey, when the officer asks you for it, you MUST provide your (1) license, (2) registration, and (3) insurance card.

Step Three: This is the tricky part. Take into consideration that police officers are people too. They are people who work very dangerous and stressful jobs. Not to mention that police officers are trained to spot lies. So, just talking to the officer person-to-person might go a long way.

Keep in mind, however, that if you answer that question, “do you know why I pulled you over?” to its fullest extent, you are giving the State your admission/statement as evidence to use against you. Likewise, you can most certainly respond “Officer, may I speak with my attorney?” but only do so if you have other issues in mind besides getting a typical traffic ticket (e.g., immigration, license suspension, open warrant, etc).

You can answer honestly and briefly and just say. "Yes, I'm sorry" then just remain silent. "Yes, I'm sorry" is honest. It also shows humility to the officer. Further, it limits the evidence that you provide to the State.

But if you are suspected of a DWI, DUI, or another crime -> invoke your right to counsel and dial (201) 800-4564.

Well for a DWI or DUI can I buy time until my lawyer gets here?

No. You cannot. Officer cannot interrogate you or ask you further questions once you invoke your right to counsel, but he or she most certainly can ask you to take the standard field sobriety tests (SFSTs) or the chemical test. For example, you have the right to remain silent, but operating a motor vehicle in New York and New Jersey is not a right, it’s a privilege. You gave your implied consent to take the chemical test when the State of New Jersey gave you the privilege to drive. So, the officer will not wait forever to proceed with his or her investigation (without interrogation).

But there are strategic ways to handle each situation depending on which State you're in. I'm not talking about your (allegedly) intoxicated state but the actual State of New Jersey or New York.

If you have been suspected of a DWI or another crime in either New Jersey or New York, call (201) 800-4564.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.

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