If you become involved in a police investigation, you may end up getting questions from law enforcement officers. Interrogation may involve anything from simple questions during a traffic stop to an official investigation involving a search warrant. In any case, you may find it stressful or intimidating to interact with law enforcement officers when they are asking you questions. It is essential to understand that the law protects your right to avoid providing information that could compromise your reputation and legal defense.
According to FindLaw, your right to remain silent comes from the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution that covers self-incrimination. Your right to an attorney and your right to avoid answering questions both exist, even if law enforcement officers do not inform you of these rights by reciting the “Miranda warning.” Even if you feel intimidated by law enforcement officers, you may choose to avoid answering questions until you consult with a legal professional.
While you do have the right to stay silent in response to questions from law enforcement officers, the law does not protect you if you choose to answer questions untruthfully. Lying to a police officer or other law enforcement professional during an investigation is a serious crime that may have severe penalties.
Even if police officers state that their questions may give you a chance to confirm your innocence, you may accidentally say something incriminating if you answer while you are afraid or confused. FindLaw points out that Miranda rights may have a significant effect on the outcome of a trial, and that most criminal defense experts recommend avoiding unintentional self-incrimination by providing little to no information to law enforcement officers.