Don\'t Talk to Cops

By Guy McBernson

"GOOD MORNING! My name is investigator Holmes. Do you mind answering a
few simple questions?" If you open your door one day and are greeted with those
words, STOP AND THINK! Whether it is the local police or the FBI at your door,
you have certain legal rights of which you ought to be aware before you proceed
any further.
In the first place, when law enforcement authorities come to see you,
there are no "simple questions". Unless they are investigating a traffic
accident, you can be sure that they want information about somebody. And that
somebody may be you!
Rule number one to remember when confronted by the authorities is that
there is no law requiring you to talk with the police, the FBI, or the
representative of any other investigative agency. Even the simplest questions
may be loaded and the seemingly harmless bits of information which you volunteer
may later become vital links in a chain of circumstantial evidence against you
or a friend.
Such an invitation not only gives him the opportunity to look around for
clues to your lifestyle, friends, reading material, etc., but also tends to
prolong the conversation. The longer the conversation, the more chance there is
for a skill investigator to find out what he wants to know.
Many times a police officer will ask you to accompany him to the police
station to answer a few questions. In that case, simply thank him for the
invitation and indicate that you are not disposed to accept it at this time.
Often the authorities simply want to photograph a person for identification
purposes, a procedure which is easily accomplished by placing him in a private
room with a two-way mirror at the station, asking him a few innocent questions,
and then releasing him.
If the investigator becomes angry at your failure to cooperate and
threatens you with arrest, stand firm. He cannot legally place you under arrest
or enter your home without a warrent signed by a judge. If he indicates that he
has such a warrent, ask to see it. A person under arrest, or located on premises
to be searched, generally must be shown a warrent if he requests it and must be
given to chance to read it.
Without a warrent, an officer depends solely upon your helpfulness to
obtain the information he wants. So, unless you are quite sure of yourself,
don\'t be helpful.
Probably the wisest approach to take to a persistant investigator is
simply to say: "I\'m quite busy now. If you have any questions that you feel I
can answer, I\'d be happy to listen to them in my lawyer\'s office. Goodbye!"
Talk is cheap. When that talk involves the law enforcement authorities,
it may cost you, or someone close to you, dearly.

This info came from a leaflet that was printed as a public
service by individuals concerned with the growing role of
authoritarianism and police power in our society. Please
feel free to copy or republish.

This info also applies to dealing with private investigators, and
corporate security agents.

Category: Law