When a California trooper pulls you over, it can easily put anyone on edge, especially if you are a Latino man.

Avoiding these common pitfalls can help you before, during and after the stop.

Refusing a chemical test

The California Legislature assumes that because you have a driver’s license, you have given the police permission to submit you to a chemical test or breath test. Division 11.5 Chapter 4 of the Vehicle Code states that driving a motor vehicle has given the state consent to determine alcoholic content based on either a blood or breath chemical test. The state can use your refusal against you.

The officer does have to provide you with the choice to use either a breath or blood test. The officer does have to have a reasonable cause for pulling you over in the first place and for having you take a chemical test.

Refusing polite conversation

Acting hostile or rude to the officer is never a good idea. While you may be angry over the stop and may have reason to be upset, acting out to the officer is almost certainly going to cause you additional problems.

You always have the right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination thanks to the Miranda Rights. If the officer requests you to do something such as step out of the vehicle or supply your license and registration, it is best to do so in a calm, polite manner. Failure to heed the officer’s command can end up with you facing a charge of resisting arrest and going to jail.

Saying too much

Knowing what the laws are before getting behind the wheel can save you a lot of trouble later. Staying quiet when pulled over may be in your best interests. This can prevent you from revealing information that can incriminate you such as stating you only had two beers. While that may not seem like much, the officer now knows you knowingly drank and drove. That does not help you during or after the stop.