It can be intimidating to be under scrutiny from law enforcement. You may not be sure how to answer the questions they are asking, and you may not be sure if answering their questions could implicate you in a crime. It is in your interests to know how to protect yourself in case you are under questioning and what to do if you experience a violation of your rights in the course of an interaction with law enforcement.
Whether you are under arrest or simply being questioned by law enforcement, you do not have to answer their questions. However, they may make you feel as if you have to answer, or they may make you feel you could face additional trouble if you do not. When in doubt, it is best to remain silent, seek an understanding of your legal rights and avoid doing anything that could harm your defense.
Your rights when questioned
Perhaps law enforcement believes you witnessed or committed a crime; you still have the right to refuse to answer questions. When placing someone under arrest, police must recite the Miranda warning, any person’s right to remain silent when in police custody. Speaking with police can make your situation worse, or it could complicate your efforts to defend yourself. Consider the following:
- In most situations, you do not have to speak with law enforcement, even if you are in custody or already in jail.
- You have the right to speak to a lawyer at any point, including before you answer questions or as soon as police attempt to question you.
- You still have the right to remain silent if threatened with a subpoena. While you must report as directed by the subpoena, you still do not have to say anything that could implicate you in a criminal case.
Knowing and understanding your rights is critical to seeking the best possible outcome in a criminal case. It is likely best for your interests to avoid speaking to law enforcement and seek legal support as soon as possible after questioning by New York police. When you have knowledgeable support, you will be in a position where you can defend your rights and fight for your freedom at every step. Legal counsel during interactions with law enforcement is crucial. An attorney can protect your rights, advise whether to answer questions and potentially challenge any evidence obtained unlawfully. You can exercise your right to counsel in several stages, including before answering questions, during custodial interrogations, and throughout the legal process.