The following scenario was described by a poster on another message board:
Granted, this guy’s a bit of an asshat to the officer. But aside from identifying yourself to an officer, is there any law that compels someone pulled over to answer the questions “where are you going” and “whom are you going to see”?
No, of course there’s no such law. A simple “I prefer not to answer” would be adequate, and then you’ll be likely signing a ticket for the original infraction rather than a warning. Which is probably what this guy deserved regardless of how he answered.
That sounds similar to the “How are you handicapped?” question we discussed at length a while back. The OP probably didn’t have to answer but the cop putting some pressure on him made it more likely for him to stumble or stammer if he was up to something he shouldn’t be…like robbing a pharmacy or about to commit a double murder and hence the reason he was driving a rental vehicle in his own backyard.
The cops probably like pulling over rental vehicles just as they (so far as I can tell) like pulling over out of state cars since they’re less likely to fight the ticket in court and just opt to mail in a check when they get home. The cop probably wasn’t expecting to get a DL with a local address on it. I could see how that might raise a red flag and it’s the cops duty to lower any red flags that pop up. As we said in the other thread, there may have been a more proper way to deal with the situation that didn’t involve prying into the OP’s personal life, this made the cop feel comfortable and only took a few seconds rather then the 20 or 30 minutes it may have taken for the cop to check all kinds of other things out. From a legal stand point all he could probably do is check for any warrants, do what he could to make sure the ID belonged to the driver, call the rental company and make sure it was rented in his name (this is probably the longest, but most important thing) etc… But the OPs answer of not wanting to put miles on his own car was good enough for the cop and he was on his way. Hopefully he was smart enough to refuse the search. Who knows what someone might have left in the trunk before him. A gun, a random unidentified pill, an empty baggie of weed they didn’t need anymore, cuban cigars they stuck in the spare wheel well they brought down from Canada and forgot about or any other number of things.