Can the police ever force you to answer questions?

| Nov 6, 2020 | Firm News |

The police certainly can attempt to intimidate you into answering questions, and they may do so. For instance, if you’re getting arrested and telling them you don’t want to talk, they may tell you that things will “go better for you” if you just tell them what they want to know. They may also try to ask you questions before they initiate an arrest or read you your rights.

Just remember that you always have a right to remain silent. You do not have to answer those questions. They can’t force you to do so. They can’t punish you in any way — such as increasing your charges — just because you won’t talk. They may try to intimidate you, but those are just empty threats. You do not have to talk if you don’t want to.

People often assume this is a right they’ll want to use if they’re guilty and they’re trying not to get caught. However, there may be tremendous value in refusing to say anything even if you know you’re innocent. Just stay calm and rest assured that the legal system is on your side. You did not do anything wrong. You don’t want to talk — perhaps out of anger or fear — and say something that accidentally incriminates yourself. You may be better off to politely tell the officers that you don’t want to answer any questions until your lawyer arrives, and they need to respect that.

An encounter with the police can be overwhelming and difficult. Always make sure you understand your rights.