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What You Need to Know About Police Questioning

The Law Office of John Goalwin Nov. 15, 2023

Police officer interrogating suspected man with handcuffsBeing picked up by the police for questioning or having to answer the officer’s questions after an arrest can be a stressful situation, especially when you do not know your rights. Law enforcement officers often employ a wide range of tactics to get people to confess to committing crimes when questioning them.  

With 47 years of experience practicing law, Attorney John Goalwin can help you understand and safeguard your rights. Our criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, California, can explain exactly what the police are looking for and how you should approach their questions. Attorney John Goalwin can provide you with the guidance and representation you need during these tough times. The Law Office of John Goalwin also serves the surrounding areas, including Torrance, Van Nuys, Compton, and Norwalk.  

Your Rights During Police Questioning 

Below are some of the key questions you may have when expecting police questioning:  

Do the police have to read my Miranda rights if I’m arrested? 

No, the police have to read a person their Miranda rights only in custodial interrogations. In other words, if you are placed in custody and the police want to ask you questions, they must read you your rights, known as the Miranda warning. When you are deprived of your ability and authority to move freely, you are in custody.  

If the police start questioning a person but do not read their Miranda rights, they cannot use anything the person says as direct evidence against them at trial. This rule applies in all situations, regardless of whether the interrogation occurs at the scene of the crime, in the jail, or in the middle of the road.  

Can the police bring me in for questioning without a warrant? 

Yes, the police can bring you in for questioning even if they do not have a warrant and even if you have not been arrested or charged with any criminal offense. When the police ask you to come down to the station or any other location to answer their questions and you agree, you voluntarily submit to the questioning. Since you are not in custody in these types of situations, police officers do not have an obligation to read you your Miranda rights and can use any statements you make in the course of the questioning against you at a later date.  

You might want to consult with a lawyer before agreeing to voluntarily submit to police questioning. If you have been asked to come down to the station, you can invoke your right to remain silent to delay the interview. Saying, “I choose to remain silent and want to speak with my lawyer first” gives you a chance to discuss your best course of action with your lawyer.  

Can I be forced to provide a bodily sample?  

Yes, the police can force you to provide a bodily sample against your will when you are charged with a crime. Bodily samples can include hair, blood, and fingernail clippings. Contrary to popular belief, this would not be a violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides protection against self-incrimination in communications only.  

How can I protect my rights during police questioning?  

There are several things you can do to protect your rights when the police start asking questions. As mentioned earlier, the Fifth Amendment protects your right from being forced to provide any self-incriminating information to the police. You are only required to provide your name, date of birth, and address. If the police ask other questions, you can invoke your right to remain silent and say nothing until you speak with your lawyer.  

Having your lawyer present during police questioning is also your constitutional right. Once you tell the police that you want to invoke your right to remain silent and want your lawyer to be present, the police cannot continue questioning you without your lawyer being in the interrogation room with you.  

Know Your Rights 

Police questioning can be confusing and intimidating. People often make mistakes when answering a police officer’s questions and end up making their situation worse. If the police want to question you or attempt to collect statements from you, speak with a lawyer first. Attorney John Goalwin can help defend your rights and ensure that you do not say anything that could be used against you at a later date. Call today for a free consultation.