Hawaii FiveO wrote:Ok, I'm driving along when I'm lighted up for minor vehicle infraction. As the LEO goes to the right side of the car, he explains reason for stop. He notices container on seat next to me. Can he ask what's in it? Do I have to answer? If I say it's an unloaded gun in a locked container can he ask to see it to make sure it's unloaded?
Yes, (s)he can ask. No, you have no obligation - legal or moral - to answer (see the 5th amendment). If you tell the officer you have a firearm and are in a place where loaded firearms are prohibited, you may be arrested for refusing to allow "examination" of the weapon (see 12031(e)).
Just curious if I'm obligated to answer if he asks.
(I'm aware that I have to divulge contents IFLEO asks if I have any drugs, guns, weapons, etc in my car) I've never been asked as I don't fit the BG profile.
I'm not aware of any statute or case law that nullifies the 5th Amendment. If asked, either reply nuetrally, or just smile and ask if you're free to go - you have things to see and people to do. If you do have any illegal items, you'd be incriminating yourself if you answer. You're either admitting guilt or possibly "obstructing" if you lie. On your next traffic stop, try the silent treatment, just smile and sign your ticket.
In any case I won't have to worry about being arrested or cited for illegal activity as I would never drive with 1. Loaded gun or 2. Concealed in glove box, etc etc.