Personal Attention.
Aggressive Defense.

Photo of Thomas C. Mooney

Must you talk to the police?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2022 | Violent crimes

If the police stop you, you are under no obligation at all to tell them anything. In fact, in Maryland,  you are under no obligation to speak at all, not even to tell them your name.

If the officers go on to arrest you, they should explain that you have the right to remain silent. Yet you can exercise that choice from the point of first contact, but they’re unlikely to tell you that.

Expect the police to pressure you to talk

The police want you to talk. Doing so typically makes their job simpler.  Police forces have solved many crimes thanks to the information that someone they stopped and perhaps arrested gave them.

Yet many innocent people have also been wrongly convicted because they said things that prosecutors later managed to use against them. So even if you have nothing to hide, silence might be best.

You should still say one thing

Tell the police you are invoking your right to remain silent. If you do that, then they need to stop asking you questions. It’s your right under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

If you don’t tell them this, they will keep on using the many tricks they know to try and get you to speak. 

You may, of course, want to give your version of events at some point.  However, it is better to do so later. For that, you should exercise another constitutional right – that of having an attorney present. This will reduce the chance you inadvertently worsen your situation by saying something you should have kept to yourself. Failing to use these rights could increase the chance you face criminal charges.