[VIDEO] Andrew’s Response to Fredericksburg Police

The City of Fredericksburg, VA recently published a video about what to expect during a traffic stop. While I agree with a lot of the points they make in the video and I commend the city for making a proactive tool to try to educate people on how to make sure the police and citizens are safe, there are a couple of points that I want to talk about their video. If you would like to see their video first, you can view it here:

Video Transcription

Hi! I’m Andrew Flusche. I’m your Virginia traffic and misdemeanor defense attorney.

The city of Fredericksburg, Virginia recently published a video about what to expect during a traffic stop. While I agree with a lot of the points they make in the video and I commend the city of Fredericksburg for making a proactive tool to try to educate people on how to make sure the police and citizens are safe, there are a couple of points that I want to talk about their video.

The first thing is they talk about is the police may ask you questions about where you’re coming from and where you’re going and that that’s just a routine part of the investigation of the traffic stop. Well, it’s true that that may happen. You need to remember that, as a citizen, you always have the right to remain silent and not answer police questions. In Virginia, you have to provide your license and registration, and that’s it. You don’t have to answer questions about where you’re coming from, what you’re doing, who else is in the car, what else is in the car. You don’t have to answer those questions.

And remember that, even though you haven’t been advised about your right to remain silent by the police, you are under investigation at that point, and you do have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can and will be used against you in court if they need it for their case. Those statements you say, those answers, can be used against you in court. So, it’s probably a good policy to simply, politely decline to answer any questions after you provide your license and registration.

Secondly, the video mentions that the police want you to comply first and complain second. I definitely agree not to explain about the police activity or whatever you think may have violated your rights on the side of the road. It’s not going to get you anywhere. Remember what happened, maybe make notes if you can right after it happened, but don’t complain on the side of the road normally. However, you don’t have to comply with everything they want you to do as well.

Now, you obviously cannot resist a lawful arrest. That’s a bad idea, and it’s a crime. However, you don’t have to allow the police to search your car. If the police have probable cause to search your car, they’re going to do it, and you can’t stand in the way of that. However, if they ask, “Do you mind if we search?” “You don’t have anything illegal in here, do you?” you can simply refuse to answer that question, you can refuse to provide consent to search.

Also, if you’re under investigation for something related to alcohol or drugs and they want you to do physical field sobriety tests or ABCs or counting or a handheld breath test, any test on the side of the road you can refuse, and most likely you should. If you’re under investigation for something like that, it means they think that there’s a reason. They smell alcohol, or they think something’s fishy, and they’re looking to determine if they should arrest you or not, and the things that you do, the tests that you submit to, are tools that they’re using to determine if they should arrest you or if they should let you go on your business.

You do not have to comply with those tests. The police want you to, and I’m not saying you should be a jerk about it. However, it’s probably in your best interests, especially if you know if you’d had anything to drink, to just politely decline those tests and keep your mouth shut.

Now, again, I’m not saying anyone should be rude to the police. You should definitely be cautious. They have a dangerous job and a very important role they play in our country and our society. However, keep in mind you do have rights, and you can refuse roadside testing. You also do not have to answer questions the police may be asking you at any time. You can refuse to answer questions politely.

So, keep that in mind. Again, I commend the police for what they’re doing, and I don’t want to be antagonistic, but, at the same time, you need to understand that you do have rights, and everyone should be educated on what rights you have. Again, I agree not to complain on the side of the road. If you feel your rights were violated, afterwards is the time to talk with a civil rights attorney about what options you have. If you end up charged with a traffic or misdemeanor offense in Virginia, definitely give me a call so we can talk about what defenses you may have.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Avvo. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.
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