It can be fairly nerve-racking when the police are asking you questions. You feel like you’re obligated to answer and you try to be truthful. At the same time, you’re worried about incriminating yourself. You don’t want to say the wrong thing and have the police officer arrest you.
So, if the police begin questioning you, do you actually have to answer? Or can you exercise your right to remain silent?
During a traffic stop
As a general rule, you do have a right to remain silent. If you get pulled over by the police, for example, you don’t have to answer questions during a traffic stop. The officer may ask you if you know how fast you were driving or if you’ve had anything to drink today. You don’t have to tell them, and you can use your right to remain silent.
That said, the traffic stop example is important because you may still have to identify yourself to the officer. You have to provide your driver’s license, proof of insurance and the vehicle’s registration. Even when using your right to remain silent, you have to hand over this information.
Beyond that, though, you don’t have to answer any more questions, and you certainly do not have to incriminate yourself. If you’d like, you can tell the officer that you don’t want to talk about it any further until you have your lawyer at your side.
Using your right to remain silent doesn’t mean you won’t be arrested, however. If you are, then you need to know about all of the criminal defense options you have.