Written by Canterbury Law Group

I Don’t Answer Questions: Do I Have To Answer Police Questions?

I Don't Answer Questions: Do I Have To Answer Police Questions?

According to the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, “no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself in any criminal case.” In other words, the Fifth Amendment protects U.S. citizens from self-incrimination. But there are two exceptions to this rule. Although you do not need to answer any further questions asked in either scenario, in some states you will have to provide your name to law enforcement if they request that you identify yourself. The other time you will need to respond is if you are pulled over for a traffic violation and the police ask to see your license, registration, etc.

On the other hand, if a person does decide to answer a police officer’s questions, then any of the statements that they make in response can be used against them in a court of law. Also, the person may stop answering questions at any time, which means that all questioning by police must cease as well.

In addition, an individual has a right to have their attorney present if they do decide to answer any questions. If they decide to exercise this right, then their request for an attorney must be made in a clear and direct manner.

When Do I Have to Provide Some Information to the Police?

As previously mentioned, there are certain situations where an individual may be required to provide particular information or answer specific questions.

For example, in many states it is often the case that if the police see a person wandering aimless with no apparent direction and in way that poses a threat to the public (i.e., loitering), then they are allowed to ask the supposed loiterer for their identification as well as an explanation of what they are doing.

Do the Police Have to “Read Me My Rights” in Order to Question Me?

If a person has not been arrested or is not placed in a custodial type of environment, then the police are not required to read them their rights. In contrast, if a person has been arrested or is in police custody, then the police are required to read them their rights.

When a person is absolutely certain that they either are not or were not involved in any criminal activities and if they decide they want to help the police, then they are free to answer any questions that the police ask.

On the other hand, if the person thinks they are a suspect or they believe that the police suspect that they have committed a crime, then it would be in their best interest to remain silent or to tell the police that they refuse to say anything without consulting an attorney first.

Can the Police Stop Me and Question Me?

The police can stop and question anyone who they have a good faith belief are connected to criminal activity. Moreover, they also can detain them and pat them down for weapons if the officer feels they are in danger.

This entire process is called a “stop and frisk” or a “Terry stop.” Running from the police will provide them a sufficient enough reason to “stop and frisk” someone. Also, while the pat down part of the stop may be limited, if the police find any contraband, then it can lead to a full blown search and arrest.

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Help with Police Issues?

Depending on the circumstances of your situation, it may be necessary to hire a lawyer. If you were merely a witness to a crime and it is more than clear that you were not involved in any way, then you may not need an attorney.

However, if you are a suspect or believe the police think you are a suspect, an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area can advise you of your rights and help you understand the complexities of the criminal justice system as well as your case.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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