Your Rights Matter

A quote often attributed to founding father Thomas Jefferson goes like this: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” 

The criminal defense attorneys at Ianniello Anderson, P.C. agree, wholeheartedly.  Which is why, for the next several weeks, we will be periodically posting quick blogs to educate readers about citizens’ rights with respect to police encounters. 


Traffic stops are the most routine form of interaction between citizens and law enforcement. Over 50 million people a year interaction with police during traffic stops.  In the overwhelming majority of these stops, warnings or traffic tickets are issued.  In some cases, searches occur.  In other cases, an arrest may occur.

What should you do?

  •  Pull over to a location where you and the officer can both feel safe.  Examples include completely on the shoulder of a roadway, a parking lot, a driveway.
  • Turn off your ignition.
  • Keep your hands visible at all times.
  • Body movements should be slow and deliberate.

What must you do? 

  •  If requested, you must show your Driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.  You should roll down your window far enough so that the officer can retrieve your documents, and clearly hear you speak.
  • If directed, you must exit your vehicle.
    • Common reasons for being directed to exit your vehicle include: 
      • Suspicion of a crime (DWI, visible drug paraphernalia);
      • Outstanding warrant for your arrest;
      • Driving with a suspended license.
    • If given instructions as to where and how to exit the vehicle, you must do your best to comply.  If you have difficulties for any reason, you should communicate them clearly to the officer.

What don’t you have to do?

  •  You do not have to answer any questions. 
  • You do not have to give consent to search your vehicle.
    • If directed to exit your vehicle, you have every right to close the door behind you and lock the vehicle.
  • You do not have to open the trunk of your vehicle.
  • You do not have to take any field sobriety tests.
    • This includes submitting to a preliminary breath screening device. But understand, if you fail to submit to a preliminary breath screening device, you will be issued a 2-point traffic ticket for failure to do so.


Everyone should know their rights.  Nobody can take them away from you. Your rights matter.


The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.