When do you have to talk to the police?


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nicademus
September 9, 2008, 07:19 PM
When do you have to talk to the police?

Long story shortened,
Last night (8:30pm) neighbor kid (14) comes over to our house and asks if I can come over and watch them, the police were taking his mother down town. WHAT? I go over and they already have her in the back of the car. They ask if I can watch the kids till dad gets home. I ask what it is about. They came over to talk to the 14 year old about a fire that started in a field last weekend. (Boy tells me there were pounding on the door saying they had better open up) Mother goes to door and police ask if she X and how old she is. She says she is not telling them. They ask again, she persists. They arrest her for obstruction of justice. Not sure if she was out of the house or what. She starts to get light headed and sits on her car in drive way, they yank her up and cuff her.

Let me say they have had some bad incidences with the police:

Once a few years ago, the police pulled this son into an office at school and grilled him without parents, about a stolen bike. Kept after him till Mom shows (to pick him up as normal, she did not know he was with the police) up and takes kid home as they were not charging him. (Cop was really po’ed and tried to stop her) But it really scared the kid. Nothing came of it.

Last year kid gets jumped by kid twice his size and beaten up, he is on the ground getting pummeled and grabs a compass from the ground and swipes at his attacker, scratches his stomach. Then the fight gets broken up. Witnesses side with neighbor kid account of the event. Dad talks to the cops asks if they are going to charge the son, never answer him for 3 weeks, finally charge and sever him conveniently during his expulsion hearing in front of the panel. Expelled. Charged with using a deadly weapon (year probation). Kid he scratched did not get anything, was expelled later for fighting and lying in a different incident. The kid that was scratched did not file the charges.

Father sees teen agers on path behind house asking other kids walking by if they want to buy pot. The also are harassing other littler kids. He has to get going to work, sees two cop cars side by side not to far from house and stops to tell them about the kids. The don’t care about the kids but want his ID and run his name. Comes up clear after 15 min and then they tell him they will take care of it and he leaves as they stay there talking.

Daughter is hit and almost killed in a pedestrian / car accident (she is paralyzed now) This was a year ago November. Still no police report. She was hit by the passenger side of the car in a cross walk with street lights. Car going 35 in a 45. Other cars saw the girls run across, but first indications from police are that it was the girls fault.

I add these to give context as to why she was reluctant to talk to the police.


Now the question:
If there is an investigation going on (some one had to say this kid light the fire for them to come to the house), do you have to talk to the police and provide information about yourself. Name, address, age ect.? Sorry this is so long.

I did not think she could be arrested for this.

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Thernlund
September 9, 2008, 07:23 PM
You never have to talk to the police. But in some cases, if you/others don't provide some intel on whatever they need to know at the moment, they have little choice but to arrest pretty much everyone and sort it out later.

So, can you be arrested for not talking to a cop? Sure. Can you be charged for not talking to a cop? No.


-T.

Loosedhorse
September 9, 2008, 07:33 PM
to answer this, but I dimly remember--no wait, I found it: Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, 2004--the Supreme Court (no less) decided a case upholding the ability of the police to arrest someone who refuses to identify themselves, if they suspect a crime has been committed.

Bushwhacker
September 9, 2008, 07:38 PM
First I am not an officer or lawyer, but I have been told by an attorney and a friend that is a assistant district attorney that if the police ask for your name, date of birth or ID you must provide it.
But I would check with an attorney in your state where you live.

If the police ask any other question(s) you can refuse and ask if your under arrest and if you are the best advice you can follow is this; Keep your mouth shut and request an attorney....

LKB3rd
September 9, 2008, 07:57 PM
You don't need to show your papers in the United States.
Driver's licenses can be required to be shown if you are driving.
Not sure about verbally giving your name and address.

Father sees teen agers on path behind house asking other kids walking by if they want to buy pot. The also are harassing other littler kids. He has to get going to work, sees two cop cars side by side not to far from house and stops to tell them about the kids. The don’t care about the kids but want his ID and run his name. Comes up clear after 15 min and then they tell him they will take care of it and he leaves as they stay there talking.
Reminds me of the account I read of a guy who lived in Argentina after its economic collapse a few years ago. He said the police were very corrupt, and no one ever called the police, because if you did, you would be the one ending up in trouble.

jaholder1971
September 9, 2008, 07:58 PM
Can't comment on the other situations, but the first one...

Mom's magic words should have been "No one talks to you without our attorney."

CountGlockula
September 9, 2008, 08:00 PM
Get a lawyer...a GOOD lawyer.

HANDLOADER
September 9, 2008, 08:00 PM
Just another example how power is abused.

Loosedhorse
September 9, 2008, 08:04 PM
but no cigar.

Hiibel was charged: that he did “willfully resist, delay, or obstruct a public officer in discharging or attempting to discharge any legal duty of his office” for refusing to give his name. He was convicted and fined $250. The Supremes upheld the conviction.

Agree that no other info than ID need be provided: the civilian form of name, rank and serial number, I suppose.

(There's one other circumstance I can think of: if you have been granted transactional--"blanket"--immunity, then you have no claim on 5th Amendment protection, because nothing you say can incriminate you: you now have to answer all questions. This presumes you have been identified as a material witness for an on-going criminal investigation.)

ErikS
September 9, 2008, 08:16 PM
IANAL either, but I googled and read the Hiibel decision (http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-5554.ZO.html) just now. As I see it, it's limited to the scope of a Terry stop. Basically, the court said that if an officer thinks that suspicious activity is going on, he has the right to ask a person to identify him/herself. That question in itself does not violate the 4th or 5th amendment, unless the name itself can be a self incrimination. (I'm not sure, but I take it that if you are a wanted criminal, giving your name might violate the 5th.)

Two things struck me here:
1. The SC didn't say that any officer anywhere can demand ID, it only said that the Nevada law that said so was constitutional. So if it's legal is up to the laws of your state.
2. The case was a "Terry stop", the police had reason to believe a crime had been committed, or was ongoing, therefor it was reasonable that the officer wanted to know who he was dealing with. I dont see it as if the SC says an officer can knock on a door and demand ID from whoever opens, unless there is a crime in progress. The crime in this case was not committed in the house or in the vicinity of it.

Then again, I guess the argument can be made that Hiibel cover any investigation, and that you must give your name to the officer if your state has a law that says so.

Actually, I just remembered a case in my country where a person that was subpoenad to appear as a witness in court, in a illegal gambling case. He kept answering every question with our equivalent to the 5th. That was including when he was asked to state his name. :) Apparently, it's possible to do that here.

LKB3rd
September 9, 2008, 08:20 PM
"Identify yourself" =give your name, not show any form of ID. Being compelled to show ID is "showing your papers" and we all know what type of governments do that... not ours, unless we let it.

Treo
September 9, 2008, 08:21 PM
Officer are you Detaining me, ( If yes then see response A) or am I free to go? ( If yes see response B)

A) I do not wish to make any statement, nor answer any questions W/ out my attorney present

B) Thank you very much officer have a nice day ( spoken over your shoulder as you leave.)

ETA
Oh and you're all cop bashers & IBTL

SCKimberFan
September 9, 2008, 08:57 PM
I know its coming. IBTL

Thernlund
September 9, 2008, 09:55 PM
I could see getting into some trouble if you witheld your identity. But that doesn't mean you have to speak to the cops. Hand over your drivers license or state ID and you should be good on that front.

Refusing to talk to the cops is not a crime. It is 100% legal to keep your yap shut. May get you arrested depending on the circumstances, but silence is legal.

Being charged and standing tall before the man comes into play when you have an attorney present and still won't cooperate. That is obstruction.

It is NOT obstruction to refuse to talk to the cops in your driveway.


-T.

.cheese.
September 9, 2008, 10:15 PM
IANAL, but lately I am dealing with criminal law as an intern and am learning from my experiences.

The answer is, you don't have to talk to the police, however depending on your case, doing so may help you in that it may get the police or prosecuting attorney to drop the issue before charges are filed. Once charges are filed, your life gets much more difficult, so the objective is to say something IF it will avoid that from happening, but at the same time not saying something that hurts you.

If you say something that hurts you though, you better hope it was said before you were read your Miranda rights so that you can attempt to suppress it as evidence. Otherwise, you have a problem.

This is not legal advice btw - as I cannot give legal advice.

green country shooter
September 9, 2008, 10:15 PM
The decision mentioned is limited to Nevada, which has a state law requiring you to identify yourself. That's all it requires. Your state may or may not have such a law. Once you're arrested, of course, even in those states you can refuse to answer on the grounds it might incriminate you.

SCPigpen
September 9, 2008, 10:23 PM
Papers, Pleez.

Treo
September 10, 2008, 12:08 AM
when you have an attorney present and still won't cooperate. That is obstruction.



You are not required to answer any questions weather your lawyer is present or not. you can plead the 5th all the way through your trial and no inference of guilt can be attached to your refusal to answer.

Check out Jeff White's favorite YouTube video on not talking to the police.

cassandrasdaddy
September 10, 2008, 12:22 AM
you get a grant of immunity and try that with a grand jury. let us know how it works out

Sam
September 10, 2008, 02:07 AM
When you are in front of the grand jury you are not speaking to the police are you

Jeff White
September 10, 2008, 02:13 AM
Check out Jeff White's favorite YouTube video on not talking to the police.

Could you post a link, I'd like to see it. I didn't know I had a favorite video about not talking to the police.

The laws on what constitutes obstruction vary in different jurisdictions. There will be no definitive answer to this question. And since it's not remotely related to firearms law, it's off topic.

Jeff

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