The police want to question me? What should I do?
A brief guide on tips for when the police question you.
Oh no, the police are at the door!If the police want to question you, that is usually not good. You really do not know if you are a suspect or a witness. If you are a suspect, you should exercise your right to remain silent.
If you have not seen the James Duane video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE) regarding whether to speak to the police, it is definitely worth a watch. His sentiment reflects the general attitude of attorneys. You have a 5th Amendment right to remain silent. Exercise your rights.
Your demeanor.Be respectful, but firm in exercising your right. Something as simple as, "Respectfully officer, I am exercising my right to remain silent." Most police should be readily familiar with this right and will respect your wishes.
What if the police persist?Police may still try and get you to talk by telling you what other people have said about you. Do not take the bait. Remain silent.
Some police will question you when they believe they already have "probable cause" to arrest you. Thus, the questioning is a sort of icing on the cake where they may gather more evidence against you. Any non-incriminating statements that you make to the police are actually not generally admissible in court, but incriminating statements are. So, in some cases they can only win. Then, when you refuse to speak with them, they arrest you. You may find it tempting to try and talk with them at this point. But if they have already arrested you, you are not going to talk your way out of it. This is the most crucial time to remain silent.
What if I am a smooth talker?You may have a strong desire to want to "tell your side of the story." Unless your story is I was in another State, here are my receipts, photos of me there, and the phone numbers of all the family members I was with, don't bother. Police do not have to factor in who hit who first or if the car is not in your name. So, unless your defense is a complete one, like I was not there or I reported my ID stolen (which actually happened) and someone else used it, don't bother telling your story.
What if I start talking to them? Can I stop? Won't that make me look guilty?If the police come to you at another angle, like they pretend they want to talk to you about something else and then start questioning you, be aware that you can exercise your rights at any time. The exercising of a constitutional right cannot be used against you in court.
So, if they say your son has been acting up in school and then shift to, "How did your son break his arm last summer?" Unless the truth is that you were in another State when whatever they are alleging happened or you have a digital recording of the baseball game where he took a bad fall and fractured the arm, this is the time to say, "Respectfully officer, I am exercising my right to remain silent."