In this article, our Chicago traffic attorneys explain the circumstances that police are allowed to pull you over for in a traffic stop. We also discuss the rights you have when it comes to consenting for your vehicle to be searched, the rights of your passengers and also what happens when you refuse a search of your vehicle. It's important to know your rights and that of your passengers to ensure your rights are protected. The 4th Amendment prevents the police from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. A traffic stop qualifies as a “seizure” within the context of the 4th Amendment. Therefore, the police are prohibited by the 4th Amendment from conducting a traffic stop without “specific and articulable facts” that give rise to a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Violations of traffic laws or erratic driving can provide such reasonable suspicion so as to permit the police to pull you over without violating your 4th Amendment rights. If you are pulled over for a traffic stop, you must provide the police officer with your driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration if the officer requests it. However, you are not required to answer any questions that the police officer asks you. A police officer may perform a search of your vehicle without a warrant if he or she has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. However, absent probable cause, the police do not have the right to search your vehicle unless you consent to the search. Passengers in a car that has been pulled over by the police are not legally responsible for the driver’s violation of the law. The general rule is that passengers are free to leave during a traffic stop unless, based on the passenger’s behavior or other circumstances, the police develop probable cause to suspect that the passenger has committed a crime.