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Does Miranda Apply to Traffic Stops?

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

If you’ve heard these words before then you know them as your Miranda rights, or the Miranda warning derived from the Fifth Amendment. It is also likely that you have heard a few myths about Miranda rights. One of these misconceptions is that during a traffic stop, an officer must read you your Miranda Rights or the charges against you will be dismissed. This is simply not true.

Miranda Rights only have to be read in scenarios where an individual is in police custody or they under questioning by law enforcement. Therefore, if an officer pulls you over for any reason, and does not arrest you, then your Miranda Rights will not be read.

However, just because your Miranda Rights are not required to be read to you during a traffic stop, it does not mean that you can’t invoke your Fifth Amendment rights. After the officer requests to see your identification and registration, the officer will often ask a few questions. Such as, how fast were you driving? Do you know why I pulled you over? Invoking the Fifth Amendment gives you the right to refuse answer incriminating questions.

Although it is important to note that whatever you chose, always remain cooperative and respectful towards police officers. Cooperation can be a key factor in helping your case if charged with a traffic offense.