Can I refuse to answer police questions?
You do not have to answer police questions. Refusing to answer police questions is your right. The manner in which you refuse is important. Always speak calmly and politely to any police officer. If you choose not to answer police questions, tell them that you are choosing to remain silent and expect to speak with a lawyer.
Do I have to tell the police officer my name?
In Illinois, the Stop and Identify Law does allow police officers to stop you, ask you your name and some questions if they believe you are about to commit, are committing or have committed a crime. Though they can stop and question you, you can exercise your right to remain silent and ask for an attorney.
What about if I am stopped while driving?
Driving is a privilege. As part of that privilege you must carry your driver’s license, registration and insurance. If you are stopped while driving, you must give the officer your license, insurance and registration. You do not have to answer any other questions. Politely tell the officer that you are exercising your right to remain silent and wish to speak to an attorney.
What are my rights if I am stopped by a police officer or other law enforcement agent?
- You have the right to remain silent. If you choose to exercise this right, you must say so out loud. Say, “I am exercising my right to remain silent. I want to speak with a lawyer.”
- You have a right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your home and your car. If you choose to exercise this right, say, “ I do not consent to a search.”
- You have a right to representation by a lawyer. If you are questioned by the police or arrested. Immediately ask for a lawyer.
- You have a right to leave if you are not under arrest. Ask the lawyer if you are being detained or are under arrest. If the officer says that you are not being detained or put under arrest, you may calmly leave. Do NOT run. Calmly walk away.
What should I do if I am approached by a police officer or other law enforcement agent?
- Always stay calm and be polite. Never talk back to the police, yell or be rude. It is in your best interest to speak calmly, and treat the officer with respect.
- Ask if you are free to leave. Politely ask if you are being detained or if you are free to leave. If the police say you are able to leave, walk away calmly.
- Express your wish to remain silent. Politely tell the officer that you are choosing to remain silent and want to speak with a lawyer.
- Tell the officer that you want to speak to your lawyer. Clearly state your expectations to speak with your lawyer. Do not give the police any wiggle room by being unclear.
- Calmly tell the officer that you do not consent to any searches. You have the right to refuse a search. If the officers have probable cause or a warrant, they may still be legally able to perform the search. In this case, politely tell the officer that you do not consent to the search, but allow the search.
- Never interfere with or obstruct the police. Let the police do their jobs without interference. You may choose to remain silent, but do not attempt to stop them from exercising a warrant or arrest. Remain calm.
- Never lie to the police or provide false documents. Rather than lie, choose to remain silent. You do not need to incriminate yourself, but providing false answers will only harm you.
- Never attempt to fight the police or refuse arrest. Do not attempt to flee or fight the police if you are being arrested. This will just cause you more problems. Stay calm and contact a lawyer immediately.
- Be prepared in case you are ever arrested. Prepare yourself and your family by memorizing phone numbers for family members and a lawyer. Make plans for child care and arrangements for medication.
- Remember the details of any encounter with the police. Take note of anything that occurs during your encounter and share the information with your lawyer. Remember names of police officers and anything else that may help your case.
Do police officers have to read me my miranda rights before asking any questions?
The police do not have to read your miranda rights unless you are in police custody and being questioned.
- Being asked questions on the street does not count as being in custody.
- Voluntarily walking into the police station to answer questions does not count as being in custody.
- When you are arrested and brought into the police station, you are in custody.
Do police officers decide what I will be charged with?
The police do not create the charges. Rather, they make the arrest and make recommendations for what the charges will be. The prosecutor is the one that actually files charges.
What are some tips for dealing with the police?
- Keep your hands where the police can see them.
- Do not make sudden movements.
- Never touch a police officer, or the officer’s equipment (flashlight, vehicles, animals, etc.)
- Stay calm.
- Speak politely.
What type of lawyer do I need if I am being questioned by police?
There are many different areas of law and attorneys typically specialize in a specific area so that they can become experts in that area. When dealing with criminal matters, it is important to select a reputable criminal attorney. Michael P. Chomiak is a reliable and trustworthy criminal defense attorney. He will work hard to defend your criminal matter. Call him today to learn more about how he can help you with your case.