When a police officer pulls someone over during a traffic stop, they will likely ask them some questions. Examples of these include:
- How fast were you going?
- Where were you headed?
- Where are you coming from?
- Do you know why I pulled you over?
Drivers are sometimes confused as to why the police would even ask them these questions. Does it matter where they’re going? Shouldn’t the officer already know why they pulled them over or how fast the car was traveling? Plus, drivers are not obligated to answer these questions because of their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Why do police officers ask these seemingly pointless questions that don’t even have to be answered?
They’re trying to see how the driver answers
The questions are less about gathering information and more about seeing how the driver answers in that moment. The officer may not care what the answer is. They want to see how the driver provides that answer.
After all, police officers may know that intoxicated individuals tend to slur their words, fumble with paperwork or make other sorts of mistakes. The officer may ask questions while a driver is trying to find their insurance information simply to see if the driver is able to think about two tasks at the same time. If not, it could be evidence of impairment.
Naturally, police officers may also be hoping that drivers incriminate themselves. This is why it is often best to give noncommittal answers or simply refuse to answer questions entirely. Either way, those who have been pulled over by the police need to know about all of their legal defense options.