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Traffic Tickets and Miranda Rights

 

Most people are familiar with the Miranda Law which was enacted after the 1966 case Miranda vs. Arizona (384 US 436).  This law requires police officers to inform you of your rights when making an arrest. 

“You have the right to remain silent...” 

 

These are featured in many movies when police arrest suspects.  These warnings are required by law to be read before questioning a suspect.  Anyone under arrest who is asked about a crime they may or may not have been involved in must have their rights read to them before the questioning can legally begin. 

 

Traffic stops, however, have been made an exception to this rule.  Courts have ruled that an officer is not required to read you Miranda warnings when you've been stopped for a traffic infraction.  The only exception is if you are under arrest for a misdemeanor or felony traffic violation.  But even then only once the officer has physically placed you under arrest.

 

Your rights, however, apply during any traffic stop, even “routine” ones such as for speeding or going through a red light.  The police officer won't likely tell you this, but you do have:

·        The right to remain silent.

·        The right to know that anything you say can and will be used against you in court.

·        The right to an attorney.

·        The right to exercise these and other rights at any time during the traffic stop.

 

So remember your rights and understand that anything you tell the officer could be used as a reason to issue another ticket or otherwise make the fines worse.  Answer direct questions honestly, but without embellishment and comply with the officer's request for paperwork.  Do not volunteer information or answer questions that could be leading towards incrimination.  Knowing your rights is important, exercising them is even more so.


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