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The police have questions, but do you have to answer?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense

It is very common for police officers to ask people questions while detaining them. For example, an officer may pull someone over for speeding. But instead of just giving them a ticket, the officer may ask them if they know how fast they were going or where they were driving prior to the stop.

If you are in this position, do you have to answer the questions? Many people assume that they do because the police officer is in a position of authority and has already pulled them over. But the truth is that you can usually use your right to remain silent to avoid these types of questions.

What do you have to say?

You do have to identify yourself. This does not mean you have to say anything to the officer, per se, but you have to give them your driver’s license. They are also going to ask for proof of insurance and the vehicle’s registration. You are obligated to give them this information, as all drivers are.

Beyond that, however, you don’t have to answer additional questions. Police are probably only asking them to get you to admit guilt. 

For instance, the officer might say “Have you had anything to drink today?” They may not have any evidence of impairment, but they are just trying to get you to incriminate yourself. This is when it can be best to use your right to remain silent and just tell them you would rather not answer one way or the other.

If you do get arrested, remember that anything you say can be used against you in court and that you have a right to a lawyer. Take the time to look into your defense options.