One of the first questions that officers will ask you when they approach your vehicle is whether you know why they pulled you over. This question is set up in a way that many motorists may feel like they must answer. It is this initial statement, in most cases merely meant as a way to be cooperative with the officer, that can be later introduced in court and can be difficult to defend against. Judges have found that these statements are voluntary and admissible, which means that even if all the other facts contradict the issuance of a Vermont traffic ticket or criminal citation, this statement alone can be enough to uphold a conviction. A few tips for the roadside questioning are as follows:
- Never reply with a substantive response to the question of why you think you were pulled over: A simple “I am not sure sir” is sufficient.
- Make the officer’s job as easy as possible: The less time an officer spends in your presence the better it is for both of you. Have your license and insurance information ready, hand it to the officer as soon as he approaches the vehicle and keep the verbal exchange to a minimum.
- Remember, everything you say is likely being recorded: Most officers have body cams or microphones connected to their uniforms and can catch the entire interaction between the officer and the driver.
Interacting with an officer on the roadside can be uncomfortable. Of course you want to be polite to the officer, who is doing their job. However, it may not be advisable to turn this cooperation into an admission, which may negatively effect any defense one may have to the issuance of a Vermont traffic ticket.