The short and easy answer to the question; do I have to talk to the police if they approach me? is NO. Police are permitted to approach you, even if they do not have any immediate reason to believe that you committed a crime. They can ask you simple questions in what is called a “consensual encounter.” However, you have no obligation to answer these questions or engage them at all if you do not wish or if you have something to hide. Often these consensual encounters are merely fishing exhibitions where the officers are looking for your reaction and evaluating your responses for truthfulness. Some officers may even try to persuade you to make incriminating statements by saying something like, “we know you have weed on you, just show us where and we will not arrest you.” Of course, after you show them this weed and they arrest you, they will deny ever making that promise. The best advice, particularly in high crime areas is to say absolutely nothing to the police other then “I’m not interested in speaking to you right now. If you have some reason to question me, please call my lawyer Daniel Berman or Regina Tsombanakis of the Broward, Miami-Dade & Palm Beach County Criminal Law Firm ofBerman & Tsombanakis LLC at 954 728-8885 or 954 764-6099. ” When saying this, remember to be polite and respectful.
The one exception to this is when a police officer approached you and merely asks for your identifications. In this situation, it is often in your best interest to provide such identification. The courts have ruled that police officers can, under certain circumstances, detain people for an extended period of time in an effort to determine their identity.
If you are ever arrested, it is even more important that you refrain from making any statements to police. As you have heard on television, anything you say to police can be used against you. If the police have already put you in handcuffs and decided to arrest you, there is probably nothing you can say to them that will make them change their minds and not arrest you. Statements that you make will just give them further evidence to use against you in court. If you say nothing, then the evidence will obviously be less. Once arrested, just remain quiet, complete the booking process and post your bond as soon as possible. As soon as you can, contact one of the Attorneys at the South Florida Criminal Law Firm of Berman & Tsombanakis so that we can begin working on your case to get the best possible result. Time is often of the essence and the sooner you have an experienced attorney on your side, the better.
This article is not intended to be advise for what to do if stopped by police for a criminal or traffic stop. That topic is saved for a future article. The above discussion is just for situations where the police ask you questions.