Many people believe they should always respond to a police officer’s questions. But that’s not necessarily true. The U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to remain silent in certain situations. Knowing your rights can protect your freedom if you are involved in a criminal case.
What to Do if You Are Arrested or Detained
First, if you are stopped by police and aren’t sure whether you are being detained under arrest, ask the officer. If you are not detained or under arrest, you have a right to leave. If you are under arrest, you may exercise the following rights:
- Remain silent – You have a right to remain silent if you are questioned by police while under arrest or detained. You should tell the officer you are invoking your right under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent.
- Ask for an attorney – You have a right to have a lawyer present while the police question you. If you do not have an attorney, one must be provided for you. You can tell the officer that you refuse to answer questions without an attorney.
- Stay calm – Being arrested can be overwhelming and even embarrassing, especially if you have done nothing wrong. However, you must remain calm when dealing with the police. Do not try to run, resist arrest, or obstruct police from doing their jobs.
Rights You Can Exercise if Questioned
The two constitutional rights you should exercise when questioned by police are the right to remain silent or not incriminate yourself, provided by the Fifth Amendment, and the right to an attorney, provided by the Sixth Amendment. Even if the police do not read you your rights, you are still entitled to use them. Make sure you tell the police that you are invoking these rights.
Are There Different Types of Police Questioning?
The police can ask you to answer questions even if you are not under arrest. These interviews are typically voluntary rather than a formal interrogation. If you are called for questioning, you can refuse to go or refuse to be questioned without a lawyer present. At Lamano Law Office, we advise everyone to consult with an attorney before any police interview.
Should I Go to a Police Station Voluntarily?
Never go to a police station voluntarily without an attorney. Even if you are not under arrest, the police could use what you say to incriminate you or another person. An experienced lawyer can tell you whether meeting with the police is a good idea.
What Can Happen After Police Questioning is Allowed?
If you voluntarily speak to the police, remember that law enforcement can use anything you say in a case against you or others. You have a legal right to answer some questions but refuse to answer others without your attorney. Remember that lying to the police is a crime, but remaining silent is not.
Contact an Oakland Criminal Defense Attorney Before Talking to the Police
Before you tell the police something you shouldn’t, consult with the Oakland criminal defense attorneys at Lamano Law Office. Our team of fierce defense lawyers can enforce your rights and ensure they are protected if you need to answer questions from law enforcement. Contact us today for an initial consultation.