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Should I agree to answer police questions?

| Apr 17, 2021 | Criminal Appeals |

One of the most widely misunderstood areas of the law is criminal law. When it comes to crimes, procedures and punishments of the criminal justice system, many television shows and books skew the process. Unfortunately, many Missouri citizens start to believe what they see on TV or read in a book as compared to the actual law.

Police don’t always have to read you your Miranda Rights

Criminal law dictates that police must read Miranda rights to people that they have taken into custody. Many people get confused by thinking that if they speak to an officer without being arrested, they’re entitled to be read their Miranda rights. The reality is, if you interact with the police without being taken into custody, they do not have to read you your Miranda Rights.

You don’t always have to talk to the police

Another common misconception that citizens tend to believe is true is that they must speak to an officer. As a general rule of thumb, you have no legal obligation to speak to an officer or any prosecutors. You can choose to remain silent during an interrogation or any questioning. However, there are a couple of exceptions to this law.

Many states have what is called a Stop and Identify law. This means that if a police officer has reasonable suspicion that you may have committed a crime, he or she may ask you for identification. You are under a legal obligation to provide this identification in the states. In addition, many states also have laws regarding the need for a driver who’s pulled over under suspicion of an illegal act to provide the officer with a driver’s license and proof of insurance.

Unfortunately, the various television shows and books in the 21st century have skewed people’s views regarding what they legally can and can’t do when it comes to the police. As a general rule of thumb, you’re not required to talk to the police. However, it’s necessary to understand the particular exemptions in your state in order to ensure that you remain lawful in your actions.

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