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Know your rights when speaking with law enforcement

Speaking to the police, no matter what the circumstances, always involves some level of risk. A police officer's primary concern is upholding the law, and if a person speaking with a police officer says something that the officer believes indicates that the person potentially committed a crime, the officer may take action to detain or question him or her. Before you speak with police in any circumstance, it is important to understand your rights.

First, you must understand that literally anything that you say to a police officer is potential evidence against you, even if you do not believe you are under investigation or accused of a crime. You always have the right to remain silent, other than giving a police officer your name, although this is not always the best choice in every circumstance.

If an officer begins asking you questions, you do not have to answer him or her without first speaking to your attorney, even if the officer has not informed you of your Miranda rights. Other than asking your name, if an officer asks you any questions that could indicate you committed a crime, you can politely decline to answer and simply say "I want to speak to my attorney before answering any more questions."

It is also important to remain civil in your interactions with police. While it is legal to swear at a cop or even insult them in some instances, it is not wise. in most cases, antagonizing police only increases the likelihood of arrest and other legal consequences. Be sure to understand your rights fully so that you can keep them protected through the strength of the law.

Source: FindLaw, "Top 7 Tips for Talking to the Police," accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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