If you are accused of or a suspect in a crime, and the police ask you questions you are not required to answer them. This may be a situation where you are asked to come in for an interview and answer questions about a crime. This may also happen if you are in custody and the Police want to question you regarding your charges. This type of voluntary interrogation or questioning does not require proof of a crime or a warrant. However, this situation might not be “voluntary” when police indicate that you are not free to leave. As a general rule, if the police ask questions about a crime my advice as a criminal defense attorney in Tulsa is don’t answer any questions unless you are represented.
Which Police Agencies May Want To Question Me?
Several law enforcement agencies might want to question you if circumstances warrant it. These include federal, state, and local police agencies such as the:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);
- Oklahoma Bureau of investigation
- Tulsa County or other local Police
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (including Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] and the Border Patrol);
- Joint Terrorism Task Force; and
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Do I Have To Answer Questions Asked By Law Enforcement Officers?
Know this, the U.S. Constitution gives you the right to remain silent. Generally, you are not legally required to talk to law enforcement officers. This includes both State and Federal Police or others acting as Police. This applies even if you are in jail or arrested. You also do not need to talk to the police if they approach you and ask questions other suspected crimes.
It is also important to remember that you are never obligated to continue with questioning, even if you initially agreed to answer questions but later changed your mind. Even if you have already answered a few questions, you can refuse to answer any other questions until you talk to your lawyer.
Are There Any Exceptions To The Rule That I Do Not Have To Answer Questions?
Yes, there are limited exceptions to the general rule of silence. The first exception is only applicable in some states where you must provide your name to law enforcement officers if you are stopped and asked to identify yourself. However, Oklahoma does not have a “stop and identify” law that requires you to reveal your identity to the police or anyone.
The second exception occurs in the context of driving. If you are pulled over for a suspected traffic violation, you might be required to show your license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. However, you do not have to answer any other questions. Police officers will usually ask additional questions to verify their perception and belief that you violated the law. Nonetheless, you are not required to answer any other questions.
Can I Talk To My Lawyer Before I Answer Any Questions?
Yes. You have the constitutional right to speak to a lawyer before answering questions, even if the police fail to advise you of this right. A seasoned criminal defense attorney can help you assert your constitutional rights from the moment the police begin asking questions to the conclusion of the case.
Law enforcement officers and agents must stop questioning you as soon as you state your desire and invoke your right to talk to a lawyer. If questioning continues after you ask for a lawyer, you still have the right to remain silent.
If you are ever approached by any law enforcement personnel for any reason, especially if you are asked to answer some questions, get the agent’s name, agency, and telephone number and pass that information on to your lawyer.
What If I Speak To Law Enforcement Officers?
It is crucial to remember that anything you say to a law enforcement officer can be used against you and other persons. Its not uncommon for Police to tell you that helping them will help you. Don’t be fooled, the Police are in the business of solving crimes. They do this by questioning witnesses and making an arrest based on those questions. Also, remember while remaining silent is a constitutional right and not a criminal act, lying to a government official is a crime. So, if you answer questions remember you if you lie the Police will charge you with that too.
Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorneys
The attorneys at Kania Law Office are experienced and knowledgeable in all types of criminal matters. Our attorneys handle a wide range of crimes including both felony and misdemeanor charges. In all the cases we do those where clients talk to the Police can be the most challenging. If police ask questions about a crime don’t answer questions but call an attorney. For more information about how our criminal defense attorneys can help you or to get a Free and confidential consultation call (918) 743-2233 or contact us online.
Tulsa's Local Criminal Defense Lawyers
Are you looking for Tulsa attorneys who will fight aggressively for you? Our team of criminal defense attorneys have the experience needed in Oklahoma law to secure the outcome you deserve.