Yes, it is illegal. Yes, they could arrest you. At a minimum its obstruction of justice. Worst case scenario you could be considered an accessory to the underlying crime. Do not lie to the cops. You can tell the police point blank you do not wish to speak to them.
The best thing to do is get some advice from a lawyer. Make sure you tell the lawyer everything you know about the crime your family member allegedly committed, tell the lawyer about all of your contacts with law enforcment and your contacts with your family member. Most likely the lawyer will tell you not to talk to the police and your lawyer will tell you specifically what you should say if the police contact you again. Your lawyer also might contact the police on your behalf, explain that you are represented by counsel and then the police are less likely to contact you directly, they might work through your attorney. Law enforcement does not have to agree not to contact you or to work through your lawyer but, depending on the agency and the circumstances, sometimes they will agree to such an arrangement.
The answers to these questions are intended for informational purposes. The attorney-client privilege does not attach and will not attach unless a written contact is entered into with Ms. Daly's firm. CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: If the above relates to a tax matter then, pursuant to Treasury Department Rules, we must advise you of the following: The advice contained in this communication was not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service. Under the applicable Rules, a taxpayer may rely on our advice to avoid penalties only if the advice is reflected in a more formal tax opinion that conforms to IRS standards
Why lie when you have a right to remain silent? Just don't say anything. And yes, lying about someone's whereabouts to protect them could be charged as a crime.
All my comments here are intended for general legal purposes. None of my comments here establish an attorney-client relationship with anyone. None of my comments should be relied on in taking legal action without first consulting an attorney.
I agree with attorney Richman. There is no requirement you talk with the police.
My response to your question is a generic response and should not be construed as controlling to your case. I can not effectively advise about your case without knowing all the facts. Additionally, my response does not create an attorney-client relationship. You can contact my office to schedule an appointment if you would like to have me represent you.
Lying is an effective and accepted police investigation tool.
Why not become a police officer and you can lie all day long and get paid for it?
otherwise, say nothing.
Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.
I am not a California attorney and am only adding a general observation to the answers you have already received.
In most jurisdictions, lying to the police woud indeed be a crime. Some federal courts and a few states have recognized an exception for what is called an "exculpatory no," which means that iif you simply and without elaboration deny that you committed a crime, that limited denial is not an obstruction of justice. But don't rely on this. Go beyond the scope of permissible denial by a hair's breadth and you could commit a crime. And Illinois, for example, once recognized the "exclupatory no" doctrine but now rejects it.
So, lying to the police is always a bad idea and usually a crime. Don't do it.