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What Do I Do if an Officer Wants to Question me?

There is a litany of reasons why an officer may want to speak to you. An officer is bound by their oath to fully investigate a crime, whether you are a suspect or a witness. At any time you speak to an officer, your words are meaningful, and your words can come back to haunt you later.

Politely decline to speak to the officer

You have the right to remain silent: use it. Our Constitution offers you the right to avoid self-incrimination. Your right to decline to answer questions is protected throughout your case and carries over into trial. If you know you may have done something wrong, you will not talk your way out of being arrested. Questioning by the officer is evidence that can be used against you later. Lying to an officer can be as valuable as a confession. When and if an officer catches you in your lie, it will prove that you had reason to lie. The only reason you would lie is to hide something and to protect yourself. A lie is just as valuable as a confession in most cases.

The officer can lawfully lie to you during questioning

While it may not seem right or just, an officer can outright lie to you during an investigation. They can create facts that are not true to obtain more information from you. When an officer asks you a question, those questions are designed to obtain useful information from you. Think of the officer’s questions like the cheese in a rat trap; it is there to entice you to give information that will ultimately seal your fate. They give you enough information to allow you to give them more valuable information they can use in their investigation. The only way to avoid incriminating yourself is to not say anything at all. It is human nature to defend ourselves when we feel like we are being persecuted, so it is difficult to avoid that instinct and not say anything at all.

I have had the opportunity to speak to college students at the Stetson University about this very subject. My motto is: “No One Ever Talks Their Way Out of Being Arrested.” It is the officer’s job to know more than you know. The officer is not asking you questions because they are curious, they are asking you questions to obtain evidence to make an arrest. The officer may lead you to believe that if you tell them what they want to know, you can walk free. That is almost never the case. You will almost certainly end up in handcuffs, and every word you say prior to that will be used against you later.

You have the right to an attorney, exercise your right

The right to a lawyer belongs to you, and only you. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you at no cost. Whether you hire me, hire another lawyer, or use the services of a public defender, you will not stand before the judge alone. Let your attorney speak on your behalf. Once you exercise your right to have your attorney present for questioning, the officer is bound by law to cease all questioning. If the officer persists and continues to ask questions after you have invoked your right to an attorney, there is a higher likelihood that your answers cannot be used against you later. But do not take that risk. Simply state that you would like an attorney, and say nothing further.

As a criminal defense attorney, the first thing I look for when I assess a case is what my client told the police. Once those words are spoken, it’s hard to get them erased later on. That is evidence that your attorney will have to overcome and deal with as they defend your case.

Attorney Matt Thompson has experience as a prosecutor prior to representing the accused. This experience is valuable in defending your case. Contact Attorney Matt Thompson at no cost and set up a free consultation. Attorney Matt Thompson is available to speak to you 24 hours, and maybe even at the moment you are sitting in front of a police officer. Save Thompson Law’s telephone number in your cell phone, and call us at a moment’s notice at (386) 463-4LAW (4529) or toll free at (877) 934-4LAW (4529) and let Attorney Matt Thompson speak for you.

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