When a police officer begins to ask you questions, you may feel that you have no choice but to answer. It can be intimidating. It may even feel overwhelming. The police officer appears to be an authority figure, and they may even act like you have to do everything that they say.
But do you actually have to answer those questions? What rights do you have in a situation like this?
You have the right to remain silent
In almost all situations, you do not have to answer any questions that a police officer poses to you. They can demand answers, and they can ask the question multiple times. They can even tell you that things will be easier if you just talk to them. But you always have the right to remain silent and you can simply exercise that right if you would like.
In fact, one common form of manipulation that police officers will use is to tell people that the situation will be resolved if they just answer some questions. What they’re trying to do is get you to incriminate yourself. But you can refuse to answer questions and simply ask to have your lawyer present.
The one time where you do have to talk to the police is when they pull you over for a violation in your car. They’re going to ask you for your license, registration and insurance information. All drivers are required to provide this. But if they ask you questions after that – even simple questions like if you know how fast you were driving or if you’ve had anything to drink – you still have the right to remain silent.
Of course, simply remaining silent doesn’t mean that you won’t be arrested or face legal charges. In a situation like this, it’s very important to understand all of the options at your disposal.