As encounters with police across the nation seemingly become more violent, you may fear retaliation if you don’t talk to them when they confront you. But you have the right to remain silent and you have the right to have an attorney by your side.
The police cannot force you to talk to them, and anything you do say can be used against you. Our law firm has years of experience defending the right to remain silent, and we want you to know what to do if the police ever confront you, whether it’s on the sidewalk, in your car, or at your home.
Do I Have to Answer Questions the Police Ask?
You do not have to answer any questions the police ask you. You have the right to remain silent. You continue to have the right to remain silent if the police arrest you.
An attorney can protect your rights, and the police cannot ask you anything once you request the presence of a lawyer and assert your right to remain silent.
For a free legal consultation, call 215.515.3360
Do I Have to Identify Myself?
There are very few exceptions to the right to remain silent, but some states have laws on the books that require you to identify yourself to police officers if they ask. You also must provide officers with your driver’s license and proof of insurance and registration during traffic stops.
However, you do not need to answer any questions beyond these exceptions. If the police try to continue questioning you, request an attorney.
What Happens If I Answer Questions Anyway?
You have the right to remain silent, but anything you say can be used against you. We strongly urge you to exercise your right to remain silent and obtain legal representation if the police are asking you questions.
As unbelievable as it sounds, it’s legal for the police to lie to you, so they do not necessarily have your best interests at heart when they question you. An attorney can defend your right to remain silent and advise you on what questions to answer or not answer.
Can I Record My Interaction With the Police?
It is legal in most states, including Pennsylvania, to record or videotape your interaction with police. The police cannot force you to delete pictures or footage of the interaction.
Recording your interaction with police can be useful evidence in your defense in a criminal proceeding and in any civil action you wish to take to hold the officers accountable.
Dos and don’ts if the Police Confront You
If you should ever find yourself in a confrontation with the police, there are some dos and don’ts to remember so you can protect your rights.
- Do remain silent: It’s your right. Aside from providing identification, you do not have to talk to the police or answer their questions. You don’t want to say anything the police can use against you later in court.
- Don’t run or resist arrest: We understand that recent events may scare you enough that you feel like running from the police. Don’t do that. Remain calm. Running can be used against you in court as “proof” of your guilt. The police may also draw their weapons because they think you are armed. If the police arrest you, don’t resist. You could face other charges.
- Don’t believe the police want to help you: The police may lie to you to make you believe they care about your best interests in order to get you to cooperate and talk. Remain silent and wait for your lawyer.
- Don’t agree to a search without a warrant: The police may ask you to let them enter and/or search your home. Do not agree to this request. Police must have a warrant and they cannot enter your home without probable cause and a judge’s signature.
- Do obtain legal representation: The first thing you should do is ask for an attorney. Police cannot question you without a lawyer present if you clearly and firmly ask for one and say you are remaining silent.
The police may try to confuse you or intimidate you into talking to them. The best thing you can do is to refuse and request an attorney while remaining as calm as possible throughout the interaction. Talking can wait until your lawyer arrives.
Learn More About If You Should Talk When Confronted by Police
You have the right to remain silent if the police try to question you. You also have the right to an attorney, who will defend that right. Our law firm is committed to defending your constitutional rights. If you or someone you love requires legal representation, the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder is ready to come to your legal aid.
To learn more about your rights, or to obtain representation, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.