When confronted by the police, it is easy to be overwhelmed, frightened, or intimidated. Many suspects answer all questions asked of them by law enforcement because they are afraid of getting into more trouble, but they do not have to answer all questions.
When arrested by the police in Philadelphia, you must answer some but not all questions asked of you. Generally, questions about your identity must be answered so the police can verify who you are and look you up in their databases. Custodial interrogation regarding your alleged criminal offense does not have to be answered. If you find yourself being questioned about a crime while in police custody, you should call an attorney to help you immediately. Refusing to answer questions might feel like a mistake, as it can feel as though you are defying police authority. In reality, you have a right to remain silent.
If you or a loved one has recently been taken into police custody, be careful about what questions you answer and call a lawyer. Our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers can help you protect yourself. For a free case evaluation, call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171.
Is There Information I Have to Tell the Police When Arrested in Philadelphia?
One thing is for sure: when a person is arrested, they are asked a lot of questions. Some of these questions you do not necessarily have to answer as you have a right against self-incrimination. However, other questions must be answered so the police can do their jobs. If ever faced with police questioning of any kind, you can call our Bucks County criminal defense attorneys for help and advice.
Generally, you have to answer basic questions about your identity. When arrested, the police need to verify a suspect’s identity for a number of reasons. They need to make sure they have the right person in their custody and whether that person might be facing any other criminal charges or is wanted by other jurisdictions. Verifying identity is also an important safety issue, as the police need to know if the person they have in custody has a history of being violent or aggressive.
It is usually fine to answer these questions because they are not designed to be incriminating. Giving the police your name and address cannot be used against you in a court of law. Even so, you need to contact an attorney as soon as you can after being arrested. In some cases, suspects refuse to answer basic questions like this because they think it will help them avoid criminal charges. Refusing to give the police your name or personal details will only dig you into a deeper hole.
Answering Questions While in Philadelphia Police Custody
After the police arrest a suspect and verify their identity, they might begin asking further questions. This time, the questions might be about the alleged offense the suspect was arrested for or an unrelated offense. At this point, there are new rules at play. You do not have to answer any of these questions because they are designed to elicit incriminating responses. If you are ever interrogated by law enforcement while in custody, demand to speak to an attorney immediately.
Before the police begin questioning you, they are required by law to explain your Miranda rights. These rights include your right to remain silent and to have an attorney present. Most people are somewhat familiar with their Miranda rights as they frequently come up in movies and TV shows. Once the police have read you your rights, you should invoke them immediately. Call our Delaware County criminal defense attorneys as soon as you can.
Invoking your rights is not always simple. You must be very direct and clear about what you want. Firmly but politely tell the police that you are invoking your right to stay quiet and will not be answering any further questions. Next, you should explain that you are also invoking your right to a lawyer. Vague or indirect statements about how you think you might need a lawyer are not enough to invoke your rights.
Consequences of Refusing to Tell the Police Anything After Being Arrested
Unfortunately, refusing to answer certain questions is not free from consequences. Although it is not illegal to invoke your rights and remain silent, the police are usually not very pleased when this happens. Suspects who invoke their rights make law enforcement’s job much harder. Refusing to answer basic identifying questions might land you in additional legal trouble.
Refusing to answer basic questions about your identity or even to show the police your driver’s license may lead to criminal charges. Under 34 Pa.C.S. § 904(b), refusing to provide identification to a police officer when they have told you that you are under investigation or arrest is a fifth-degree summary offense.
Knowingly providing false identification is a second-degree summary offense. You could also face penalties for hindering an investigation or obstructing justice. Our Northeast Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys can help you if you are facing legal penalties for refusing to answer questions.
Although you cannot be criminally charged or face other legal penalties for refusing to answer police questions pertaining to custodial interrogation, the police might make the situation more difficult than it needs to be. For example, after you demand to call your lawyer, the police might stop asking questions, but they might be very slow about contacting your attorney, making you wait longer in a jail cell or holding room. Once you can speak to a lawyer, tell them about everything that happened to you since being arrested.
Call Our Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help Now
If you or someone you know has recently been arrested, you should call a lawyer to help protect your rights from police authority. Our Montgomery County criminal defense attorneys can help you fight your charges. For a free case evaluation, call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171.