Miranda Rights 101: When Can You Refuse to Answer the Police?

Policeman interviewing a womanYou could almost always decline to answer questions from the police. However, depending on the specific circumstances, declining might lead to different legal outcomes. Below are three scenarios where you could decline to answer a police officer’s questions.

When The Police Arrests You

When you’re arrested, you’re automatically under police custody, and you could invoke your “right to remain silent”. However, you’re not allowed to walk away since you are under arrest so the best thing to do is to not speak to the police since even a simple conversation could lead to you potentially implicating yourself in a crime. The thing is, the police might still try to question you, so you need to tell them very clearly that you want to call your lawyer before you start answering their questions. Do note though that it’s fine to tell the police personal identifiable information like your name, address, and date of birth without being read your Miranda rights.

When The Police Requests That You Come in for Interrogation

Police officers have to have you in custody for you to be read your Miranda rights so agreeing to be interrogated does not technically count as being under their custody. This means that if you’re not under arrest and you volunteer to come in to be questioned and then start answering their questions, you don’t have to be Mirandized for that, explains Feldman & Lee PS, a top criminal defense lawyer from a renowned law firm in Kent. You could, however, decline or ignore their request to for interrogation, but then there’s the chance that they just put you under arrest. Instead, he adds.

When a Police Officer Stops You On the Street

As stated above, the police are not required to read you your Miranda rights if they’re not putting you in custody or interrogating you. That said, you have the right not to answer the questions of a police officer if you are stopped on the street. You should also ask if they’re detaining you and if not, you could just stop talking altogether and politely leave.

Keep in mind that the police officers are just doing their job and it’s your responsibility to be respectful and courteous to them at all times. But if you feel that a police officer is violating your rights, do not try to manage the situation on your own and avoid lashing back. If this happens, take note of everything that happened and relay everything to your lawyer later on.