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Your Rights During Police Interrogation


To catch the suspect off-balance, investigators often show up at very unusual times. No matter when they summon you to the station house or knock on your door, you have rights during these encounters.

The right to remain silent is probably the most important one. The Fifth Amendment is broader than many people think. It’s not limited to questions and answers. You do not have to engage police officers in conversation. Investigators know how to extract information without making the statement in the form of a question.

You also have the right to not do  a lot of things you may be asked to do prior to arrest. You need not stand in a lineup, perform a field sobriety test( although there may be license issues), try on a shirt- or a glove, hold a gun. You are NOT required to give your numerical/alphabet-based passcode to unlock your iPhone just because you are stopped or even arrested. (But Beware!  This does not apply to Crossing and Border Patrol agents when you enter the country.) You may (usually by court process or because of a law in place) be required to give your DNA through a buccal swab.

Asserting your rights is not free. If you remain silent, officers will almost certainly arrest you. But if the investigation reached this point, an arrest was probably inevitable.  And no matter what, you should remain silent until you speak to your lawyer no matter what you are promised or told.

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