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

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?

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Attorney answers 5


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.


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 -----


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 contact me either by phone at 718-208-6094 or via email at This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.


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 attorney-client relationship. Be mindful, that answers are limited by the limited facts presented by the questioner and are not meant to take the place of competent legal advice by an attorney fully informed of all the facts surrounding your case. However, be aware that nothing posted in a public forum such as this can be deemed confidential or privileged communication. For a privileged private consultation, contact me at 212-385-8600 or via my website


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

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