So you are on your way to pick the kids up from school. In the rear view mirror, you see sirens behind you so you pull over to the side of the road, and a police car pulls in behind you.
The police officer approaches your window and you wind it down. After handing over your licence, the officer casually says to you, “So was there a reason why you were speeding?”
And you say, “I’m running late to get the kids.”
Or alternatively, the police officer asks you “Is there a reason why you ran the red light?”
And you respond, “I didn’t see the red light.”
Or alternatively, the police officer asks you “Why weren’t you wearing your seatbelt?”
And you respond, “I was wearing it.”
A fundamental principle in our legal system is that a person is innocent until proven guilty.
A person does not have to prove their innocence. It is up to the prosecuting authority to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a person’s guilt.
So what does this have to do with traffic matters?
Well, the Police have to prove that you did the thing that they allege that you did.
Or alternatively, they can prosecute you based on the confession you just made to the offence they allege you committed.
Yep, you can get done on the things that you spill your guts to.
Like speeding because you were late to pick up your kids (scenario 1).
Or running a red light because you weren’t paying attention (scenario 2).
Or – wait. You didn’t admit you were not wearing your seatbelt (scenario 3) so then it comes down to the police having to prove their case against you by way of evidence.
There is no obligation to answer a question placed to you by a police officer that does not involve your full name, date of birth and address (unless you have been in a motor vehicle accident or are a witness to one, then they can ask further questions to identify a vehicle or person driving the vehicle – if in doubt always seek legal advice).
So if you are asked by a Police Officer why you did or didn’t do something, there is no obligation to provide a response. Silence cannot be interpreted as acquiescence.
Gold Coast Traffic Lawyer is a division of Bamberry Lawyers. We operate a 24 hour, 7 day a week emergency number for new or existing clients. Ring 5527 0020 to speak to one of our caring qualified lawyers about your criminal or traffic law problem.