TALKING WITH POLICE

Whatever the police lead you to believe, it is rarely advantageous to answer police questions about a crime. Whether you committed a crime or not, whether you believe you are a suspect or not, it is almost never advisable to answer police questions about a crime outside of the presence of a criminal defense attorney.

Police encounters are divided into three categories:

  1. Consensual encounters: In a consensual encounter, you are free to leave and are simply talking to the police voluntarily. An officer may approach you and ask if you can answer a few questions. While you should always be polite, if the questions they ask make you uncomfortable in any way, ask if you are free to leave and then explain that you do not have time to continue the encounter.
  2. Detentions: In a detention the officer has the ability to stop you for a brief period of time to ask you questions. If you are initially stopped for a traffic violation, this is usually a detention. Nearly everyone experiences a detention at some point in time. You are not free to leave during a detention. You may need to provide basic identifying information. However, you are still not required to provide any information that may be incriminating. Many arrests begin as detentions, and responding properly to a detention is extremely important in preserving your freedom. You will not have the right to an attorney during a detention, however, you can speak to Chris Welch today so you can be ready to preserve your Constitutional rights during a detention.
  3. Arrest: Once you have been arrested, do not resist arrest in any way. Comply with the officer’s requests and treat the officers politely and with respect. However, as you will be advised, you have a right not to answer any questions until you have an attorney. It does not matter what the police say, do not allow questioning to begin until you have a qualified attorney with you.

During any of the above encounters with police, before you allow the police to conduct any kind of search, ask them if you have the right to refuse the search. If they say you can refuse, it is usually in your best interest to refuse consent, even if they try to convince you otherwise. Be sure to refuse politely and respectfully.