Do you have to cooperate with a police officer if he has reason to beleive you were involved in a crime?

Asked about 3 years ago - Harriman, NY

If a police officer is looking for someone who did something and he approaches you out in a public park or street because he/she beleives you may be invloved in a crime, can you say, "I don't want to be bothered" and simply walk away, even if he starts acting threatening and questioning you because you seem suspicious?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. 1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You have the general right to walk away when a police officer asks you to stop and give information. That being said, once he detains you, there is no obligation to speak or cooperate in any investigation they are conducting.

    Joseph A. Lo Piccolo, Esq.
    Hession Bekoff & Lo Piccolo, LLP
    President, Criminal Courts Bar Association of Nassau County
    1103 Stewart Avenue, Suite 200
    Garden City, NY 11530
    (O) 516-408-3666
    (F) 516-408-3833

    Sent from my Verizon Blackberry

    ----- Original Message -----

  2. 1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You do not have to cooperate with a law enforcement official. You also should no confront or lie. It is a crime to lie to a federal law enforcement officer. Next time I suggest requesting contact information and then talking to a lawyer for advice.

    I have been a criminal attorney in New York for over 20 years. Feel free to view my website at or... more
  3. Answered . Depending on the facts and circumstances a police officer may detain and sometimes even search you if s/he suspects that criminal activity is afoot and certainly if you are a part of it. I do not suggest you become confrontational with a law enforcement officer and you should certainly comply with an "orders" s/he may give you but you most certainly do NOT have to answer any questions. As a matter of fact my suggestion to you would be NOT to talk to the police at all. If you are talen into custory you should state in clear and unequivical terms "I want a lawyer". Once you say that police cannot question you outside the presence of your atorney. If you have a desire to cooperate with the police do so through a lawyer so that your attorney can protect you and get as much out of it to your benefit as s/he can.

  4. Answered . I would ask the officer if you are under arrest. If he says no, tell him you would like to leave. If he says yes, ask fto speak to an attorney.

    All answers are for information purposes only. Answering this question or any future questions does not form any... more
  5. 1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You can always walk away. You should never speak to law enforcement without counsel as a general rule.

    The information provided on this site is for general information purposes only. The information you obtain at this... more

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