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Must I talk to police after an arrest?

If a law enforcement officer arrests you, you should request an attorney and not answer any questions. This is your constitutional right. In criminal arrests that include a custodial interrogation, law enforcement must read you a Miranda warning. This lets you know your right against self-incrimination and your right to hire an attorney.

People under arrest that provide law enforcement with a statement usually incriminate themselves or allow law enforcement to twist their statement. Law enforcement officers do their best to get you to talk excessively until they have statements that they can use against you.

What happens if I do not talk to the police?

No punishment exists for declining to answer a police officer’s question. Without your statement, law enforcement will be forced to build a case against you through other means. For example, confiscating evidence at the scene, evidence accumulated during the investigation and witness statements.

What do I say if I do not want to talk to the police?

Let law enforcement know that you want your lawyer present for any questioning. However, if you do talk, never lie. Lying to an officer can be a crime but remaining silent is not a crime.

If asked for your name, provide it. If you have been pulled over while riding in your vehicle, you will have to provide the officer with your driver’s license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. In Ohio, you must provide your name, address and date of birth if you are suspected of committing a criminal offense or a witness to a felony.

Reasons why you should not talk to police

Police are hoping that the words will flow from your mouth. In doing so, you may provide them with incriminating evidence that authorities and the court may use against you in pursuing criminal charges.

An arresting officer also may attempt to trick you into talking too much and saying things that will incriminate you.

Remain silent

It is best to remain silent and not answer questions after an arrest. Always request an attorney. The words you provide may give authorities exactly what they need to obtain a conviction. Rely on the advice of a skilled criminal defense attorney who will help you with your criminal charge and in talking with law enforcement.