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Answering the Question, “Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?”

Jeff Cole
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan & Cole

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3/15/2016
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If you were stopped by a police officer, he may have asked you “Do you know why I pulled you over?”—a common question at a stop. You may be tempted to answer like you would a friend, but do not make the mistake of doing this. The police are not asking you this question harmlessly.

How to Answer Police Questions

Understanding why the police ask this common question can help you know how to respond. The police officer asks it to find out two things:

  • He is trying to get you to admit guilt to some crime or traffic violation.
  • He is looking for a reason to investigate further, such as to administer a field sobriety test if he suspects you of driving while intoxicated.

If you are asked if you know why you were stopped—or any question—you need to remember that the police officer will record your statement in his police report and it could be used against you later. With so many police officers wearing video cameras, whatever you say would be taped for later use. You should do the following in answering police questions:

  • Be brief and non-committal. You should give short, non-committal answers, such as “No,” “Yes,” and “I see.” Do not offer additional explanations.
  • Do not be rude. You should remain polite to the officer to not make what could be a routine traffic stop escalate into a more serious charge.
  • Exercise your right to remain silent. You do not have to speak to the police officer. Depending on the situation, you may want to say, “I’m going to remain silent,” if you do not feel comfortable giving even non-committal answers.

If you were stopped by the police and did not follow these guidelines in talking to them, you have not ruined your case. However, it is even more important that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Fill out our online form today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how we can assist you.



Category: Criminal Defense

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