While it is true that we generally do not have to interact with the police or help them with an investigation. If we are pulled over in our vehicle, this is a forced interaction we must participate in.
When one is pulled over because of some traffic violation, the police officer has to the power to force the interaction. Indeed, if the officer asks for one’s driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance, it must be provided.
Questions and answers
Even though the driver must hand over the above listed items, the driver does not have to engage with the police officer. Other than identifying oneself, the driver does not need to answer any additional follow-up questions. Remember, the police officer is not a friend. They are interacting with the driver for the specific reason of finding a violation of law, even if just perceived. They will ask a lot of questions, but the driver does not have to engage. One can simply stay silent or state that they are invoking their right to remain silent. No one can be punished for this silence, and the police officer cannot unreasonably extend the traffic stop without probable cause.
Especially when a driver is invoking their right to remain silent, the police officer will ask to search the vehicle. The driver does not need to give consent, and without probably cause, the police officer cannot search the vehicle. Be sure to audibly tell the police officer that they do not have consent to search the vehicle.
If the driver is arrested for the traffic violation, drunk driving, etc., the right to remain silent is still there. The driver does not need to talk with the police, but once the handcuffs come out, the driver should ask for a lawyer immediately. This should shut down any further questioning. However, if it does not, just continue to ask for a lawyer.
For Springfield, Illinois, drivers that choose to interact with the police, remember everything that is said to them can and will be used against the speaker and others, as applicable. Their entire job is to arrest and investigate, and everything told to them is for that purpose.