I have been stopped by a Police Officer. Do I have to Answer their Questions?
In the state of California, if you are driving and stopped by an officer, you must provide your driver’s license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. If you are not driving, you are required to provide your identity when asked. For any other questions, you have a constitutional right to remain silent. You cannot be punished for refusing to answer a question.
If you feel that you are being pressured, ask to have your lawyer present. It’s a good idea to keep your our business card in your wallet, have it in your phone, or have our number memorized. You can give this information to the questioning officer. Once you have requested a lawyer, they should not ask you anymore questions until your legal representation arrives.
You should also get the name, badge number and agency of law enforcement officer who is asking these questions. Make sure to give this information to your attorney.
Why is it important that I “remain silent” or have an attorney present?
Anything that you voluntarily say can be used against you for arrest and conviction of the accused crime. Keep in mind that lying to an officer is also a crime, but refusing to answer questions is not. It is our job as lawyers to defend your rights and keep you from incriminating yourself.