17 Phrases to Avoid if You’re Pulled Over by Police

If police ever pull you over, it’s essential to know your rights. However, it’s also important to know what not to say because making the officer angry with you when you’re already in trouble is a terrible idea. To prevent the situation from escalating, you should avoid using any of these 17 phrases when you get pulled over.

What Did I Do?

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You should never ask what you did if an officer pulls you over because you might come across as defensive. They’ll start the conversation by approaching your car and requesting your license and registration, so it’s better to comply and avoid asking questions or creating a lengthy discussion.

This Is a Waste of Time

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According to Greco Neyland, you actually have a First Amendment Right to insult police, so it isn’t illegal, but that doesn’t mean you should do it. Telling the officer ‘this is a waste of time’ or telling them to ‘go and catch a real criminal’ might feel good, but they won’t appreciate your behavior, and it might make things worse.

I Wasn’t Going That Fast

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If you’ve been pulled over for speeding, don’t make things worse by proclaiming you weren’t going that fast. Not only will the officer have proof of your actual speed, but you’ll create tension by trying to talk your way out of trouble. Telling a blatant lie will also not endear you to the police, so it’s better to stay quiet.

I Forgot My License

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You should never drive without your license in the US. Find Law warns that it’s illegal to do so in every state, although lacking your physical license isn’t as bad as lacking proof of one. If you don’t have your license, you’ve got no other option but to admit it, but try not to forget it when driving.

I Know My Rights

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It’s essential to know your rights when dealing with the police, but don’t get cocky when speaking with an officer who has pulled you over. Taking a bad attitude toward the police isn’t a good idea, even if the cop is being arrogant. Take the high road for your own safety, but know your rights and silently remind yourself of them.

You’re Wrong

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Nobody likes being told they’re doing their job wrong, and the same is true of the police. While you might disagree, telling them they’re wrong or that your traffic violation is ‘just their opinion’ will only make them angry. You don’t want to deal with that on top of your misdemeanor.

I Know What I Did

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Even if you think you know why the police have pulled you over, never tell them because it could actually be for a completely different reason. According to Rocket Lawyer, cops aren’t generally required to tell you why they’ve pulled you over right away, and it’s in your best interest to avoid implicating yourself.

We Can Work This Out

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Attempting to bribe any police officer will never end well, so don’t even try it when you’re pulled over. You’ll end up in far more serious trouble if the officer arrests you for attempted bribery than if you just take the ticket and move on with your day. The police aren’t there to be your friends, so treat them as authority.

I Have a Gun

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All cops carry guns, but so do many citizens. While you must admit to carrying if you’re in a ‘must inform’ state, Active Response Training recommends being calm and informing the officer of your firearm and concealed carry license. Stating ‘I have a gun’ sounds threatening, and you should never threaten an armed officer.

I’ve Only Had One Drink

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Being pulled over for driving under the influence is very serious. You cannot talk your way out of it, so it’s in your best interest to comply with the breathalyzer test and avoid making the situation worse. Claiming you’ve only had one drink not only confesses accountability but can also be proven false with the breathalyzer results.

Can I Go?

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The officer may seem like they’re taking their time, but it’s never a good idea to try to hurry them along. Asking if you can go before they’re finished will irritate them and may make the whole process take even longer. As a rule of thumb, wait until you’re explicitly told to leave before you do.

I Pay Your Wages

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While taxes do fund the police, pontificating about how you ‘pay their wages’ will only serve to make an officer mad at you. The police know they’re funded by taxpayer money, so this isn’t new information, and implying that you’ve got something to hold over their heads might make it sound like you’re trying to manipulate the situation.

I’m In a Rush

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If you’ve been pulled over, it’s because the officer saw you committing some kind of traffic violation. Brushing your misdemeanor off as you being ‘in a rush’ can make your case worse because it’s a subtle way of confessing that you were speeding or driving carelessly due to being in a hurry.

Go Away

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It’s never a good idea to rile a police officer up before they’ve even said a word to you, so don’t tell them to ‘go away’ as they approach. You should definitely avoid using more colorful language to tell the officer to leave, too, because they won’t take it kindly to you cursing at them and showing aggression.

What Do You Want?

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The officer knows what you’ve done to be pulled over, and, chances are, you know, too. But just like you shouldn’t ask what you’ve done, don’t ask what the officer wants. You’ll seem defensive from the beginning, and you don’t want the officer to think you won’t comply calmly with them.

Let’s Forget About This

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Bribing an officer won’t go over well, and neither will attempting to sweet-talk them. Trying to convince them to ‘just forget this happened’ might seem like it will work with kinder officers, but it’s still their job to uphold the law, and they won’t want to get into trouble themselves for failing to do that.

Just Give Me a Warning

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A lot of the time, an officer will let you off with a warning for a minor violation, but don’t try to sway them. If you haven’t committed a serious misdemeanor, the officer will decide that for themselves, so don’t try to tell them what they should do when you aren’t the authority figure in the conversation.

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