You see the lights in your rearview mirror, hear the sirens and your heart races. Having a police officer is a stressful experience whether you’ve done something wrong or not. Knowing how to handle yourself can help make a traffic stop more tolerable while not incriminating yourself.
The best way to avoid incriminating yourself is to know when to speak to the police officer and when to consult with a lawyer. While it’s wise not to speak to the police without a lawyer after they’ve placed you under arrest, there are other times when answering police questions is less likely to incriminate you.
Which questions the laws requires you to answer
Illinois state law regarding temporary questioning without arrest says that an officer may demand your name, address and an explanation for your actions. However, this only applies to public questionings and when the officer isn’t placing you under arrest.
If an officer pulls you over, the law says you must provide your driver’s license and proof of registration. You should also provide your basic information like name and address. While this information may be on your driver’s license, a police officer may ask you to verify that the information on your ID is correct.
Stick to the basics
There is a fine line between cooperation and self-incrimination. Don’t let your nerves provide unnecessary incriminating information to a police officer if they stop you. Providing your basic information like your name and address in public likely won’t incriminate you, but you do not have to answer further questioning without a lawyer if you are under arrest. Knowing your rights when the police are questioning you can give you confidence in handling the situation.