Free Consultation (309) 734 -1001

The Difference Between a Traffic Stop and Arrest

In order to know your rights, you need to understand the difference between a “traffic stop” and being under “arrest.”

A traffic stop is a brief and public detention of a driver. An arrest is the type of detention in which a person is not free to leave. Whether an arrest has occurred is based on all the facts and circumstances in each particular case. An arrest may include questioning in the squad car, police station, or the officer informing you that you are not free to leave.

As stated before, at the traffic stop, the officer does not have to warn you of your Miranda rights – that anything you say can be used against you, that you have the right to remain silent, and you have a right to consult an attorney.

Questioning you after arrest does require that you be warned of your Miranda rights.

Ironically, much of the key incriminating statements and conduct in a DUI case happens at the traffic stop. Because the law enforcement officer will most likely not advise drivers of their rights at the traffic stop, drivers need to take the initiative to learn their rights ahead of time.