Even well-intentioned police officers who are of good character ultimately are there to identify and arrest suspects and help send them to jail.
They are not there to be friends with those who encounter them, and they also have a limited ability to help out someone avoid jail time or get a break in. a criminal case.
The bottom line is that despite what they might say, police officer who are investigating a criminal case do not have an interviewee’s best interests at heart.
On the other hand, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution has been interpreted to guarantee a suspect’s right not to answer questions from law enforcement officers or volunteer information.
This right applies to dealings with federal, state and local law enforcement officers.
This right is very broad in that it applies to all sorts of situations. For example, it does not matter whether or not a person is actually in custody or being detained. It also does not matter whether or not an officer has given the well-known Miranda warning.
The general rule is that a Kansas City resident does not have to speak with a police officer any more than he or she has to speak with anyone. The law allows for no punishment or repercussions for not agreeing to talk.
A person may have to answer questions in court, but even so, he or she does not have to give evidence that he or she committed a crime.
There are also some limited exceptions to this rule which mostly involve laws requiring people to give very basic identifying information.
Talking to law endorsement is a risky proposition
Missouri residents who talk to law enforcement officers face several risks. For one, anything they say can be used against them in court. Oftentimes, a statement can be taken out of context or otherwise twisted to make a person look guilty.
Second, in most cases, people who do choose to speak to law enforcement have an obligation to tell the truth. For instance, lying to a federal official is a separate federal crime that can be charged, even if it turns out the person who lied committed no other offenses.
Again, prosecutors are quick to jump on any incorrect statement and make it out to be a lie.
People do not have to talk to the police and should be very hesitant to do so.