If you are stopped for a traffic violation or have been placed under arrest by police, odds are the officers are going to attempt to ask you some questions to get more information about the incident. While it may seem innocent, anything you say can be used to develop a case against you. So while you want to watch what you say, the bigger question at hand is whether or not you even have to answer those questions in the first place. We explain if you have to answer questions from police in today’s blog.
Answering Questions From Police
Being questioned by police can feel intimidating, even if you have nothing to hide. Police rely on this to get people to talk even when its in their best interest to remain silent. So should you just stay quiet when police are asking you questions, or is it better to just be truthful and assume that doing so will get you out of the situation faster?
The simple answer is that you are well within your right to refuse to answer any questions from police, and no repercussions will come from this silence. You are protected by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that you have the right to stay silent and avoid providing any information that could be served to implicate you in a criminal matter. You can willingly offer up this information if you so choose, but you can always elect not to by choosing to invoke your Fifth Amendment rights, and this silence cannot be used against you either.
There is one question you do have to answer if questioned by police, but that doesn’t pertain to the facts of the incident in question. You are required to provide identifying information to the police officer asking you questions, meaning that you need to state your name. After you provide your name, you can simply let them know that you are invoking your Fifth Amendment rights until you’ve had a chance to talk with your lawyer. You should also request to speak with a lawyer at this time so that you can get advice and because it will typically put an end to additional questioning.
As we’ve talked about on the blog in the past, it’s extremely rare that you’re going to be able to talk your way out of a situation, and it’s much more likely that you’ll just give police more information to use in a case against you. You might think that you can talk your way out of a DWI by telling the officer you only had two beers, but all the officer will take away from that conversation is that you admitted to drinking before getting behind the wheel, which will make defending yourself even harder. You’re not going to talk yourself out of a DWI, or most other criminal matters, so just stay quiet, make it harder for police to develop a case against you and let your lawyer handle the rest.
Don’t give police the information they need to build a case against you. You have the right to remain silent, and this decision to remain silent cannot be used against you in the court of law. To learn more or to talk to a lawyer about your case, give our team a call today at (952) 224-2277.