The thought of being questioned by the police probably evoke, at the very least, a sense of anxiety and for some a feeling of dread. People are questioned for various reasons; they may or may not be the target of the investigation, but no matter the reason, it’s unnerving. Furthermore, how you handle police questioning will impact the outcome. So, just how should you respond to police questions? Here we’ll take a look at a few different common scenarios and how to best handle each one.
If you’re out and about enjoying your day, and a police officer happens to spot you, he may come over and make small talk, asking things about the weather or the day’s news. The police officer may then start to ask more personal questions, and this could make you feel a bit uneasy.
You may wonder why the police officer chose you to converse with. Are you in any way obligated to answer the police officer’s questions once they became more personal? Unless a police officer has detained you, you are not obligated to answer any of his questions. Most likely the police officer is chatting with you because he’s gathering information about a recent crime, investigating a person you know, or, investigating you.
Asking for Your Presence
If law enforcement comes knocking on your door or calls you on the phone asking if you are available for questioning at the station, you may think this request for your presence is required. When a police officer calls you or shows up at your door, it’s usually because there’s an ongoing investigation and they would like you to provide some information.
However, if you comply with the officer’s request, there’s a good chance you’ll incriminate someone else, or worse, yourself. How? Well, your words can be taken out of context, misunderstood or turned around. It’s possible you’ll provide the investigative officers the information they lack. If a police officer asks you to appear at the station, immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer. Criminal defense lawyers know the law and can properly advise you during the questioning, perhaps prohibiting you from answering certain questions.
Detainment and the Right to Remain Silent
If you were pulled over by police while going about your day, and the police officer begins to question you immediately, the only five words you need to utter are, “I wish to remain silent.” When you say those words, you’re invoking your Miranda rights.
How do you know the right situation to invoke those rights? Well, when you’re detained by police, they stop you from going anywhere and mandate that you stay in one place. In order for the police to pull you over to begin with, they must have probable cause. When they detain you, they may pat you down for weapons, or search your vehicle if they have reasonable suspicion they’ll find something. When answering questions while in detainment, it’s possible something you say can lead to your arrest.
Making a Deal
If you are arrested for a crime, you’ll be questioned by police during the arrest process. The police officer may tell you that if you cooperate, they’ll get you a better deal. This can leave you confused and unsure of how to proceed, especially if you’re completely innocent.
An arrest is serious, and you don’t want to give up any information to the police without your rights being protected. The police don’t negotiate plea bargains, prosecuting attorneys do. For this reason, you need to contact a lawyer right away, because anything you say in police custody can be used against you in court.
We understand how confusing and frightening it is to confer with police. You’re open to risk without an attorney by your side during questioning. Contact us today for information about police questioning or other legal matters.