When You Are Stopped By a Police Officer
You are not legally required to answer any questions from law enforcement. You may ask the officer if you are being detained, under arrest, or free to go, and if you are free to go, you may walk away. If you are being detained for questioning then you should answer the officer’s questions as long as they do not implicate you in any crime. If you are unsure about a question you may not answer it, however this may lead to suspicion which could lead to your arrest.
If you are arrested, officers will pat you down in search of weapons or drugs. The officer may ask for your consent to search you. You can choose to deny this. If the officer begins to search you without asking, do not resist. If you have been arrested or detained you are not required to answer any questions other than your Name.
When You Are Arrested
If you are arrested officers will typically tell you your miranda rights, such as the right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney. If officers fail to tell you these rights they still apply and you should exercise them. Information you give can and will be used against you in court. Once arrested ask to speak to a lawyer. You have the right to a phone call after booking. Conversations with your lawyer are confidential and law enforcement cannot listen to them. Phone calls to other people can be listened to by authorities. Unless bailed out of jail, people are typically taken before a judge within 48 hours.
Should I Answer Questions Once I’ve Been Arrested
You should not answer any questions. It is in your best interest to remain silent and ask to speak to your lawyer every time an officer questions you. Your best option is to always talk to a lawyer first.
If You Are Mistreated By Law Enforcement
If you believe you are being mistreated, write down the officer’s name, badge number, and other information. You have a right to this information and may ask the officer for it. Witnesses can greatly improve your chances of proving mistreatment. Make sure to get witnesses names and phone numbers. If you have been injured, take pictures of the injuries as soon as possible. You should also make a complaint to the police precinct where the mistreatment occurred.
This web site is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal issue or problem.