A felony charge laid against an Arizona man for something he said during a traffic stop shows how careful you need to be when talking to a police officer. The man has been charged with use of weapons of mass destruction for allegedly telling a state trooper that there were explosives inside.

In mid-May, the man was driving on the interstate in Idaho early in the morning when a state trooper pulled him over for speeding. The trooper claims that the driver told him that he had explosive devices in his vehicle. The trooper immediately detained the driver and closed a portion of the interstate. However, police called in to investigate concluded that there were no explosives in the vehicle.

Besides being charged with use of weapons of mass destruction, a felony, the man is charged with DUI, possession of marijuana and resisting arrest.

Questions remain

Obviously, this story raises several questions. What exactly did the driver allegedly say that convinced the trooper that he was making a bomb threat? Would a reasonable third party take the statement seriously? Did the driver intend to intimidate the trooper, or was he making a questionable but fairly obvious joke?

Be careful about what you tell a police officer

One lesson you can draw from this story is that you do not have to answer any questions from the police if you believe the answer might be used as evidence against you. It is the officer’s job to gather evidence that you have committed a crime such as DUI, and that includes any statements you make. A traffic stop is not the time to make jokes or false statements that give the officer an excuse to charge you with crimes you did not commit.

If you have been charged with DUI or another crime in the Prescott Valley area, consult a defense attorney before you decide what to do about it. You may have options that include getting the charges dropped and regaining your driver’s license.