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You may have seen by now on the Internet references to a law firm in another state that offers flyers that you can print out and use when you encounter a police DUI checkpoint. The idea is that you can just put one of these pieces of paper up to your window for a police officer to read, and that is it: no talking, no consent to search. The flyer that is specific to New York even states that you do not have to roll down your window at the checkpoint, you can simply show your driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance information by holding them up against the glass.

It can be a gamble to rely solely upon holding up a piece of paper as a technique to get through a traffic checkpoint. Doing so may inadvertently antagonize the police officer, which is usually not a good idea even if you have not had anything to drink. But the advice to remain silent is sound, and is applicable to situations that go beyond vehicle checkpoints.

There is a saying, some have attributed it to Abraham Lincoln, that “No one ever got into trouble for keeping his mouth shut.” And we at The Law Offices of Zev Goldstein have long advised that much potential trouble and little benefit can come from talking to police officers in any setting. The police are trained in how to elicit possibly incriminating information from you without you even knowing it. If they were not good at doing this, then your right to remain silent would not be so important that it constitutes one of the essential rights that the police themselves must remind you of it – and the consequences if you choose to waive that right – when they take you into custody.

Another essential right that you have if you are pulled over by a police officer for any reason is your right to an attorney to represent you. In addition to taking full advantage of your right to remain silent, we also strongly recommend that you make full use of this right, too, except to call our office to speak to one of our attorneys.

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