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When the police ask questions, do you have to answer?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2023 | Criminal Defense

interrogation room

Being questioned by the police is not a fun experience. Even if you know that you’ve done nothing wrong, it probably puts you on edge. You feel like you have to answer their questions and that they’re in control of the whole situation.

You may even be worried about saying something wrong. You don’t want to make a mistake and incriminate yourself. So do you have to answer their questions?

You have a right to remain silent

Generally, you don’t have to talk to the police at all. You don’t have to answer the questions that they ask. You don’t have to provide them with any information. If they continue to ask you these questions, you can simply tell them that you’re exercising your right to remain silent. It may be wise to ask to have your lawyer present and to tell the officers that you’re not going to say anything without a legal team on your side. This will generally get the interrogation to stop.

One exception to the rule – to an extent – is if you get pulled over in your car. Drivers are required to have insurance, registration and a valid license. The police are going to ask you for these, and you’re required to provide them as a driver.

But even then, the police might ask related questions. Where are you going? Do you know how fast you were driving? Have you had any drinks tonight? You may have to identify yourself and provide proper documentation, but you don’t have to answer any questions beyond that.

You could still be arrested

Your right to remain silent means you don’t have to answer the questions, but it doesn’t mean you won’t be arrested. If you are, take the time to look into all of your legal rights and your defense options.