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Do you have to answer questions from the police?

If you’re talking to a police officer, perhaps after a traffic stop or because they came to your door, you may not want to answer their questions. This doesn’t even mean that you’ve done anything wrong. You may simply be worried that you’re going to say something that seems incriminating in the stress of the moment.

However, the police may be rather aggressive with their questioning, and they may tell you that this will be easier for you if you just cooperate. Do you have to answer their questions?

You only have to identify yourself

If the police ask you for your name and your address, then you do have to identify yourself. This is legal under Louisiana law. Additionally, drivers have to provide a license, registration and proof of insurance. Anyone who gets pulled over has already agreed to do this by getting a driver’s license, so they are obligated to answer these questions.

However, beyond your address and your name, the police cannot compel you to answer any other questions. You certainly have a right to remain silent. It is often advisable to wait for your legal team. Many people will simply say that they don’t want to answer any questions without their lawyer and ask for legal representation. 

This cannot be used against you, and, once again, it does not imply that you are guilty. It is simply a right that all Americans have under the fifth amendment.

What comes next?

If you are facing charges, it is good to know that you don’t have to talk to the police without your lawyer present. Make sure you are well aware of the exact legal steps to take and of the other rights you have.