Going to college in Colorado may wind up being one of the most memorable experiences of your life. If it’s the first time you’ve ever been away from home, it might be exciting and greatly challenging at the same time. Like most college students, some of your days are likely better than others. You hopefully have a strong support system in place to help you get life back on track when the tough times hit hard.

Your friends, professors, tutors and guidance counselors can help you when you’re struggling academically in school. Any number of other problems can arise while you’re in college, however, and it’s equally important to know where to seek support for such issues. For instance, if you get sick or suffer an injury, knowing where the nearest hospital is located is a must. What if a Colorado police officer pulls you over in traffic? Do you know your rights and how to protect them?

Words and actions definitely matter

If you tend to use flippant remarks when you feel nervous or get sarcastic if you feel that someone is trying to intimidate you, you definitely wouldn’t be the first college student to do so. However, exhibiting such behavior during a traffic stop may be enough to land you in handcuffs. Your best bet is to be respectful and polite, no matter how anxious you might feel.

You don’t have to do anything the law does not require

If the police officer who pulls you over asks you to get out of your vehicle, you must comply. However, if he or she then asks you to take a field sobriety test or a preliminary alcohol screening test, do you have to submit to the request? The answer is that you are not legally obligated to do either of these things. There are no administrative or legal repercussions for refusing.

The right to remain silent is real

Perhaps you thought that invoking a right to remain silent is just something you see in the movies. In fact, the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you from having to answer questions under police interrogation without the presence of legal representation. You may verbally invoke this right if a police officer starts asking you questions, such as whether or not you have been drinking alcohol.

Be wary

Police officers often ask seemingly harmless questions when, in fact, the line of questioning is an intentional effort to probe for facts to determine if there may be cause to arrest you. It is true that, if you face arrest and prosecutors charge you with a crime, they can use anything you said or did during the traffic stop that led to your arrest to try to incriminate you in court.