Should I Answer Police Questions When Stopped?

Many people who are pulled over by police in Orlando or surrounding areas in Florida are curious as to their rights when stopped, and whether it's in their best interest to answer questions posed by police or law enforcement officers. Should you answer police questions when stopped? The short answer is no. Police often act as though they are your friends, and even say things to make you think that if you cooperate, the outcome will be better for you. Not so.

Respectfully Decline to Answer Questions

When you answer questions asked by a police officer, you could unintentionally incriminate yourself or give the officer additional ammunition that helps prosecutors build a criminal case against you. You do want to be polite and show respect, however you should decline to provide answers to questions other than those regarding your name, address, or other identifying information.

Never believe that by answering questions or acting friendly that you will "get ahead" with police. Making friends or being helpful in this situation absolutely helps police, but it also helps you in digging your own grave in terms of law enforcement building a case against you. If you do answer questions, make sure you have your defense attorney present. Otherwise, invoke your right to remain silent, which is your privilege to protect yourself against self-incrimination.

Police Do Not Have to Inform You of Miranda Rights Until You Are Arrested

Police know that individuals who believe they're suspects talk in an effort to prove their innocence. Until the time comes that you're taken into custody or arrested, police do not have to inform you of your Miranda Rights if you're providing information of your own accord. Regardless of what police may tell you, you do not have to freely give up anything at all - request an experienced criminal attorney.

What if you're stopped for an alleged traffic violation? At this point, you still aren't required to answer questions other than giving your name and providing your license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration.

Consult With An Attorney First

Under the U.S. Constitution you have the right to consult with an attorney before answering questions, regardless of whether police inform you of this right. Upon requesting a lawyer, police are to discontinue the questions; however, many do not, but you still have the right to refuse answering questions. Be clear that you want an attorney, and that you will not answer any questions without your lawyer present.

Police Use Threats to Get an Answer

Police officers frequently use threats in an effort to get a suspect to answer questions, such as getting a warrant or having the person subpoenaed. Even at this point, you have the legal right to remain silent. Whether you are threatened or actually served with a warrant, a subpoena or think you are under investigation, contact your attorney immediately.

It's natural to think you may be digging yourself in deeper by refusing to answer questions, however it's best to remain silent. When you aren't sure if you are doing the right thing, consult with an Orlando criminal defense attorney right away.

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