People Share Questions Police Officers Ask That Can Get You In Trouble
Lights flash in your rear-view mirror and your stomach drops past your knees into your ankles. It's the worst feeling, not knowing what the officer pulling you over is going to say. However, police are for the most part highly trained and inquisitive minds, and the questioning they lead with may be meant to trip you up and expose yourself. Reddit user, r/kris6689, wanted to know about your best run-ins with the law when they asked:
Ok Reddit, What are some Clever questions asked by cops to get you in trouble?
Start With The Classics
Do you know why I pulled you over?
Would you like to incriminate yourself?
Never Say Yes
I was once pulled over for not wearing a seat belt even though I clearly was. He then asked, "Are you calling me a liar?".
Cool. I say "yes" and I don't know what kind of trouble I am in. I say "no" and I get a ticket even though I am wearing a seat belt.
I just replied with "I am wearing a seat belt." and of course he wasn't happy about that either. I just don't like his initial question to which there is no correct answer.
Making You Confess
Not really a question, but they'll casually mention going to get fingerprints or something in hopes that you'll say "ok, fine! It was me!"
I know a guy who fooled everyone. He wrecked his car and then tried to claim his car was stolen and the thief crashed it. He made it believable. I believed him. All our friends believed him.
The cop had doubts and mentioned that he'd dust the inside of his car for prints. The guy buckled and admitted.
I later asked why. "Because he was going to get my fingerprints."
I replied "well, no sh-t. It's your car. Of course your fingerprints are there."
Cover Up The Cracks
The most common technique is just to ask the same questions over and over and record the answers. Typically you don't respond the same way every time and eventually, if you're trying to hide something, cracks will appear in your story.
Better just to shut up.
It's Not What You Did, But What You Thought
Police officer got me pretty good. Pulled me over at a speed trap. And after a series of questions asked if I thought I could have been speeding and I said yeah probably. And he wrote on the ticket
"Admitted to speeding"
Read Between The Lines
If they ask you to recite the alphabet backwards, the answer they're looking for is "I can't even do that sober."
I'm From the Big City
"You're not from around here, are you?"
Have heard of some rural cops using this on people, making up some b.s. local ordinance they "violated" and then downplaying that into a different offense they didn't commit. Had one time where I was pulled over for making a legal right on red and had the officer pull me over and tell me he was going to mark it as a noise ordinance violation. He even explained it would save points on my license as it was a non-moving violation and I can just go pay that at the court house. Prosecuting attorney dismissed the charges when I showed up to contest them and explained what had happened.
Not A Question, But A Statement
Here's one I see from smarter cops:
(Sniff sniff) "I smell beer." (wait for a response)
It's not a question, but it definitely puts the ball in your court to "explain" why this officer smells beer.
While it's tempting to suggest that maybe the officer just burped, the correct response is to ask whether you are free to go. If not, it's time to say "My lawyer told me never to answer any questions or consent to any searches."
Maybe Don't Talk Back?
"Do you know what the speed limit here is?"
"No officer I was driving much too fast to read those tiny signs"
It's All In The Wording
"Do you know how fast you were going?" = Either you tell me you were speeding or I know are going to lie to me.
I learned a good response from my girlfriend's Dad, "I honestly don't know how to answer that question."
I saw some footage of an officer pull over a group of lads simply for being a group of lads and he noticed they had a frisbee in the car and asked "Oh cool, you guys into Ultimate Frisbee? Why is it so many Ultimate Frisbee players smoke weed?"
The driver said "you're trying to trick me so I will not be answering any questions."
When All Else Fails, Keep Pursuing
I saw a video of cop who pulled this old guy over for speeding. And the cop did the following trick: He tells the guy he clocked him going 90.
It was a trick, the cop didnt know how fast the guy was going but suspected him of speeding. He intentionally accused the guy of speeding an inflated number in order to trick the guy into responding by saying something like "90!!!! NO WAY! I was only going 75!" .... which would be an admission of guilt.
BUT! That clever old guy just said that there was no way he was going 90 and left it at that. The officer even asked how fast he was going then (multiple times) and the guy instead just went on and on about not driving 90mph. The officer actually admitted later that he didnt clock him speeding and let him off with a warning.
Do You Mind If You Incriminate Yourself
Do you mind if I search your vehicle?
If you say "yes" meaning that you do mind, the cop will say you just consented to a search. If you say "no" then it means you don't mind and just consented to a search.
You have to say "I do not consent to a search."
Edit: to clarify, I'm not saying there are specific magic words, just that you have to clearly and explicitly state your non-consent.
Remember, You Have Rights
"Hey, can I check your backpack?"
I was stopped because an officer saw me cut through a parking lot and thought I was about to graffiti a church. It was night, and I was jogging in a black hoodie and black backpack to catch a bus, so I get the suspicion. The question was clever because I could have opened my backpack to demonstrate my lack of spray paint, only to reveal something else incriminating. I declined the inspection, even though I think I had only textbooks, notebooks, and maybe a laptop.
"I Don't Remember"
Have you had anything to drink?
Any living human being would need to answer yes, except you. You know better.
This question is introduced in a grand jury setting as driver admitted to drinking. Regardless of anything you admit you drank.
Again, You Don't Have To Say Anything
Telling you that if you have any drugs, to just hand them over and everything will go much better.
But It's A Chance To Show Off My Talent
My buddy was arrested for public intoxication, the cop was a nice dude (college town) and he looked at my friend who was trying to be a smart a$% and said "I bet you can't touch your thumbs together behind your back!"My friend: "oh yeah??" Proceeds to do so.click click! Cuffed him, it was absolutely hilarious
They Wanna Get In Close
If you're stopped while driving it's common for the officer to suddenly have hearing failure and ask you to repeat something while leaning close to your face - they're checking for alcohol on your breath.
Don't drink and drive - if you use this information to try and avoid being caught you'll just be more likely to get breathalyzed.
It's Really All Of Them
Cops don't ask questions just to pass the time being friendly.
They are fishing for self-incrimination. Always. Even if they ask you ten completely innocuous questions, they are just working up to the eleventh one, which will be designed to incriminate you.
Not Just A Speed Trap, A Word Trap
I had a cop pull this devious tactic on me at a DUI checkpoint (note: I dont drink alcohol... at all).
So, he's asking the usual questions where are you coming from? (work) where are you going? (home) How long have you worked there? etc etc..and then he suddenly gets all casual and says "well if you ARE drunk, you sure fooled me.". I thought it was an odd thing to say and I know to be careful what I say to a cop (because of the tricks they use) so just to be safe I didnt say anything. Just looked at him. He looks away for a second, says something else (I dont remember what exactly) and then goes right back and says the exact same line. "Well, if you are drunk you sure fooled me". At that I KNEW something odd was going on. So I ask him if we were done and could I leave? At that he let me go.
Later, after trying to figure out what that was all about I realized if I had said anything to the affirmative (yes, uh-huh, or even nodded) it would be as if I said "yes, I AM fooling you... I AM drunk".
IMO a pretty despicable way to get someone to unknowingly admit guilt to something they may not even
Just Know, It's All The Questions
This is really important. Officers are pros at making you self-incriminating yourself.
I tell my friends this all the time; The first thing I learned in undergrad law classes (and being a black woman) is that when you're stopped or pulled over cops are NOT trying to make small talk with you, they are simply trying to get more information by doing the whole good cop bad cop thing. They make you think they're on your side and making small talk and they're trying to get more evidence or incriminating statements from you.
Here's the best example; A pair of officers pull you over for suspected drinking and driving and asks how many drinks you've had tonight. Of course, you know what they're trying to do. At this point one officer goes back and says "hold on, let me get (fill in the blank of some excuse to stall)." The other Officer stays at your car and seems like they're making small talk. (Also, you could just not you know.... be selfish and risk everyone's lives by driving drunk but whatever I guess.)
They ask you questions like: -"So... what did you have for lunch today?" (The more you eat, the more you can drink. Empty tummies = less tolerance for alcohol). -"Are you in college? What organizations?" (Trying to judge your lifestyle. This is very prominent in small towns, college towns, and college areas. If you say you're apart of a notoriously party/rowdy organization they can see that you are likely to be drinking at that time and/or better at holding liquor than somebody else). -"You look like you lift or play sports. What do you do? Sounds cool, tell me about it." (If you lift weights or play something that builds muscle you can handle more alcohol. If you do an activity that makes your skinny and speeds your metabolism, like running or ballet, you handle alcohol worse but it gets out of your system fast ). -What y'all do today? Did you go to the event that happened earlier today?" (Might seem harmless because they're asking about an event that happened hours and hours ago but it could be very telling about what you're up to now. Like maybe there's after parties or something. This one is also huge in college areas). -"What are you studying and/or what do you want to do?" (College things. Certain majors attract certain people. Some majors people are more likely to know the law/their rights, so the cops need to step up their mind games)
tl;dr; cops will make small talk with you, making it seem like they're kind and actually care but they are often getting little details about your day, schedule or lifestyle to see if there's more suspicion to have.
Cops are overworked, underpaid and extremely busy. They don't give a sh-t about your day, major, or hobbies.