In the United States, people have the right to remain silent before the police and during arrests and questioning. In a court of law they may be compelled to answer questions or face a contempt of court charge, but during an arrest a person is not legally obligated to answer questions or provide any information to police.
That being said, a person may wonder if it’s in their best interests to talk to the police when arrested. While no two situations are alike, consider some important factors in this regard.
Answering Honest Questions
Before you get arrested the police may pull you over in your car or otherwise stop you and ask questions that may be best answered. As an example, if you’re pulled over for a speeding ticket and you have a bottle of prescription pills on the seat next to you and the officer asks about them, there is nothing wrong with telling the officer that they’re yours and they are prescription medications, if that’s the case. Showing the officer the label to prove that they’re prescription medication can actually stop him or her from assuming they’re illegal drugs. If the officer asks about an open can or bottle in your car you can certainly show him or her that it’s a harmless soda.
When to Stop Talking
That information having been said, keep in mind that no one has ever really talked themselves out of an arrest. If police have enough evidence or cause to arrest you, that’s typically what they’re going to do. Trying to deny evidence they’ve already seen, argue with them, or threaten the police with a lawsuit is not going to do anything but make your situation worse for you.
You also never want to lie to the police no matter the circumstances. Never tell an officer that a car is yours even if you’ve borrowed it from a friend and it’s not stolen, and never tell an officer that you live at a different address than you do or any other incorrect information. Remember that police have reams of data at their fingertips and if you lie to them, they’re more likely to arrest you. You also don’t want to resist an arrest even if you know you’re innocent. Your best choice in that case is to simply request an attorney and say nothing more to them on your own.