When a crime has been committed and your name has come up either as a witness or as a suspect, there are different varieties of questioning by law enforcement that may occur based on the circumstances. You have constitutional rights under either scenario, regardless of what you are led to believe. You also have options as to where questioning takes place, if you choose to participate.

If you find yourself being questioned by law enforcement officers, it is always a wise choice to safeguard your rights by clearly stating that you want to speak with a Southaven criminal defense attorney before answering any questions.

Investigative questioning. Whether you are still at the scene of a crime or law enforcement tracked you down at home, work, or another location, you may be asked questions regarding your knowledge of what occurred, who was involved, or whether you know any of the victims or suspects. These inquiries may be aimed at gaining enough probable cause to arrest you, or may be innocently gathering facts from a helpful witness. You won’t know until you or someone else is placed under arrest. If you have not been arrested, you are not required to answer questions at the police station or go with the police.

Custodial interrogation. If law enforcement has arrested and Mirandized you – also known as reading you your rights – and begins asking you questions, the most important right you can invoke is the right to remain silent. You are not obligated to answer anything, and you shouldn’t answer questions without an attorney present. The moment you ask for an attorney, the police must stop questioning you. Protect yourself and wait for your attorney to arrive.

It is important to understand that under the law, there are very limited instances where you are required to answer a question: if you are stopped by police on the street and asked your name; and if you are pulled over while driving and are asked for your driver’s license, insurance card and registration.

Being questioned by police, or any other law enforcement officer is a stressful proposition whether or not you have reason to be concerned. Our attorneys often help clients who have placed themselves into difficult predicaments being arrested for shoplifting, burglary, and other crimes after speaking with police because they were unaware that they had another option. At Taylor Jones Taylor, our criminal defense attorneys stay on top of changes in criminal law and procedure to offer our clients the best protection possible. If you have been accused of a crime in Southaven, Olive Branch, or Hernando, we invite you to call us at 662.253.5193 or reach out to us through our contact form to schedule a consultation.