What are my rights if I refuse a police interview? 56 Answers as of September 20, 2012

A person called the police and told them that I took something from their house that was a high value item (over 10K). The police waited a month to contact me and said they wanted to do an interview. I said no I do not want to do an interview. I never heard anything back from them and it's been two weeks. Does this mean that they are likely finished with their investigation? There was never any evidence and I really did not even do it.

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Keyser Law Firm
Keyser Law Firm | Christopher W. Keyser
Not talking to the police was a smart move. Persons often unintentionally get themselves into deeper trouble by talking to the police and making statements that are damaging to their case. If the police feel they have enough evidence to forward your case to the appropriate prosecutor's office, they will. Having a statement and an admission of wrongdoing on your part simply makes their case stronger.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 10/18/2011
Burdon and Merlitti
Burdon and Merlitti | Adam Van Ho
If you have not heard from the police, it does not mean that they have closed the investigation. It may mean that they are gathering documents, are conducting interviews, or are awaiting some other developments in the case. As such, I would not read too much into it.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 10/10/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
First you did the best thing. Never speak to the cops. It may be an interview but it is actually watered down interrogation. They have one purpose and one only, clear cases.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 10/7/2011
The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
There is no law that says you have to talk to the police. On the contrary, if you are being accused of any offense, my advice is NOT to talk with them, advise them that you want to speak with an attorney, and then see one. They CANNOT talk with you if you are represented by an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/6/2011
Shane Law Office
Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
You did the right thing by refusing to submit to a police interrogation regarding a potential criminal case. The police are only interested in using your statement against you to obtain a conviction. The next step for the police will be to submit their reports regarding the investigation to the prosecuting attorney for review. If the prosecutor determines that there is sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction, he will draft and sign a criminal complaint charging you with felony theft. You should consider retaining an attorney to "track" the case. An experienced criminal defense attorney could be instrumental in requesting that the case be charged out by a summons and complaint instead of a warrant and complaint.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 10/6/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    They may or may not be finished with their investigation only time will tell. If they charge you you should hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    You did the right thing in declining an interview. Stand upon your Constitutional right not to make any statements or answer any questions. The investigation may still go on, and you may be charged with the crime, in which case you should hire the best criminal defense attorney you can afford. There are many, many people who have been convicted of crimes that they did not commit.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You have an absolute right to refuse to speak with the police. You did the right thing, if they have evidence they will charge you and if they don't they won't. It never helps speaking with the cops. It is your 5th amendment right!
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    It doesn't mean they are done with their investigation. If they can find evidence that you committed a crime, then they will likely arrest you. With that said, you did the right thing. Speaking with law enforcement only increases the chance that you will be arrested. Never speak with police before consulting a lawyer. Hopefully, the whole thing will blow over. Wait it out and contact a lawyer if anything more comes of it.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    There is a chance that you will have no further contact regarding this matter, however, if the police come upon further evidence giving them probable cause to believe you committed the crime, they may get a warrant for your arrest. This does not mean you are guilty, of course, and you have an absolute right to remain silent and not answer any questions for the police. For the act of not showing up for an interview, there is nothing the police can do about that.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    They have up to 6 years to investigate and charge. It is not uncommon for investigations to take months. You should have your attorney on board in case the charges come.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    You have the right to refuse to talk to the police guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution. Nothing good can come from talking to the police when you are the subject of an investigation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    You can refuse to talk to the police and you should not talk to the police without first consulting with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You did the right thing. The passage of time does not mean that the investigation is over or that you will not be prosecuted. They have five years to commence the prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    What it means is they are trying to find some corroborating evidence from the complainant and then they will file charges and surprise you with an arrest warrant. You were right to refuse to speak to them. You should go ahead and find a lawyer you can hire in the event an issue arises so you will already have someone in your corner.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Do not talk to the police. They are not your friend. They will make you think that but they are not. Hire an attorney to protect you.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of John E. Gutbezahl LLC
    Law Office of John E. Gutbezahl LLC | John E Gutbezahl
    You are under no obligation to speak to the police.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    You made the right decision. There are few times that giving an interview is of any good to a suspect. Your best move is to keep your mouth shut and wait for the Statute of Limitations runs in three years.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    Your instincts were spot on. You have no duty to assist in your prosecution. Two issues to watch for at this point. The first is an additional telephone call from the police, or their appearance at your door, asking to just ask a few questions. Stick to your guns. Decline to speak to any law enforcement. If they persist assert your right to speak with your attorney. As soon as you demand to speak with your attorney their questions must stop. The second issue to watch for is what is called a pretext call. You might get a call from the owner of the home asking questions. The goal would be to get you to establish as many elements of the crime as possible, such as being in the home at some time or another. This phone call will be recorded by the police. Again, decline to speak with the caller. It does not matter if you did not take the item as they already think you have and are simply trying to build a case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
    The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC | Elizabeth Zwiebel
    The lack of contact sometimes means they are gathering more evidence. If the evidence does not substantiate the charge then they will not pursue it. You should not talk to the police without an attorney present. It is vital that you have an attorney present at all times during an investigation and questioning by police.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    You do not have to speak to the police. You have the right to remain silent and your choice to exercise that right cannot be held against you. If you are innocent, you may want to speak with a criminal defense attorney who can help you decide if it is wise for you to speak with police as allowing yourself to be interviewed may cause them to drop the matter. That they have not done anything for two weeks is not meaningful. If you did take the item, you should definitely retain criminal defense counsel. What you tell your lawyer is confidential.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    You are not compelled to go to an interview or to answer police questions. You also will never know if an investigation is closed or if it continues.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    If they have enough evidence then they could charge you without an interview. The only reason that they want to talk to you is they hope you will confess. Many people get convicted only because they talk to the police. You have the right to remain silent. Use it.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    You are under no obligation to submit to a police interview or interrogation. The fifth amendment give you the right to refuse. If they have other evidence that can be used to charge you they will even if you refuse. Sometimes they are depending on your own statements to give them the evidence to prosecute you, if you refuse to give a statement, they may not have enough evidence to charge you.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    The fact that they have not contacted you back is not any indication if their investigation is complete or not. The more time that goes by the more likely, but police can sometimes take months to conduct an investigation, or for the State to bring charges. Do not give a statement at any point. If they had enough evidence to charge you, they would. Don't help them build a case against you by giving any statements.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    The right is to not have to speak to them which you correctly exercised. The police are only trying to use your statements to help build a case against you. Investigations can take months or years so two weeks is not a lot of time. Technically they have until the statute of limitations runs out to make an arrest. That time frame is determined by the seriousness of the charge. You can retain an attorney to speak to the police on your behalf to get an update on their investigation but I don't think you should contact the police yourself.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    You have the right to decline an interview but do not be surprised if you receive charges in the mail.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    You never have to make statements to the police
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The police want to talk to you because they do not have enough evidence to arrest you. You should not talk to the police or anyone about the case no matter what they promise or threaten. Ask for the questioning to stop and politely demand that an attorney be provided and they must stop the questioning. They used to arrest people and threaten them with various methods but now they are afraid of false arrest lawsuits.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
    You did the right thing. You are never required to give the police any information in this kind of case where there is no emergency and it is no incident to a lawful stop. People who talk to the police very often get themselves in trouble where they would not have had any trouble before. I am not saying the case is over, but the police either do or do not have sufficient grounds to charge you. If they do, they will charge you any way. If they don't, at least you did not inadvertantly fill in missing pieces for them. If they do come to arrest you, simply state politely that you do not wish to speak without a lawyer present. The police are allowed to lie to you - for example, saying that they have DNA evidence or witnesses. The worst mistake you can make is to believe you can talk to them about some things but not about others just do not give any statement, period. Give them identifying information - name, date of birth, and the like - but simply and politely refuse to discuss the case without a lawyer present.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Sounds like you did the right thing. It does not mean the investigation is over. An attorney may be able to find out the status if the investigation for you.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You did the right thing by refusing the interview. You are smart! You should always exercise your right to remain silent, and the only reason they want to interview you is to hopefully obtain incriminating statements from you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    You do not have to talk with the police. This is your right to remain silent. The police make a big deal out of this saying that if you did not do it you would talk with them. However, the only way that this can hurt you is if you say something in trial that would have gotten the police off your back during the requested interview. If you do talk with the police you should only do it when you have your attorney with you. Your attorney should know all the police interview tricks and when to stop the interview. The police have up to the end of the statute of limitations to file a case. You are not in the clear as yet.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    The Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC
    The Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC | Justin C. Olsinski
    Many times criminal investigations like this will take months. The best thing to do is consult an attorney and be represented when talking to the police. Your goal at this point is to not be charged with the crime, because once you are, it is a lengthy expensive process. While you never have to talk to the police, consult an attorney in your area because there are advantages if you can prevent charges from being brought.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Levine & McHenry LLC
    Levine & McHenry LLC | Matthew McHenry
    It is impossible to know whether the police are continuing their investigation without interviewing you. In any case, you did the right thing by refusing an interview. If you are contacted by police again, you should retain an attorney immediately. Do not talk to the police without speaking to an attorney first.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    You're entitled to refuse a police interview. It may make them mad, but they can't do anything. Sometimes they'll threaten to arrest you if you don't talk, but they can't use your refusal to speak as a reason to arrest you. They may have enough to arrest you without talking to you, but there is no way for you to fix that. Don't talk to them. If you're arrested, don't talk and the court will appoint a lawyer. Or, more likely, they don't have enough evidence and won't contact you again.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    You always have the right to not speak to the police. In fact, it's probably a good idea to not speak to the police. Typically, talking to the police only gets you in trouble. They may end up charging you but at least you haven't done anything to help them by incriminating yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    Unless and until they officially clear you, the case may still be open. Good for you for not giving a statement to police without first consulting with a criminal defense attorney. You had every right to say "no."
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC | Thaddeus Furlong, Esq.
    Nobody can make you sit for a police interview a nd most good defense lawyers will tell you DO NOT go to one. Refuse any. Police interviews unless your lawyer is with you.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You don't ever have to speak to the police. The police will proceed with the investigation without your input. The results of the investigation are then forwarded to a prosecutor who then decides if there are sufficient facts to warrant the filing of the case. If the case is filed, you will be cited into court, or you could possibly be picked up (arrested) by the police and taken to jail. You then appear in court before a judge who sets bail (possibly). You should probably consult with an attorney. Even if you are innocent of the crime, I would not go speak with the police without first consulting with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    You absolutely can (and should) decline to answer police questions. They aren't looking for "your side" of things - they're hoping you'll say something to incriminate yourself and seal the deal. Can I tell you that the investigation is over? No. They could still be investigating or the case could have been sent to the prosecutor for their review and the filing of charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Todd Landgren, Professional Law Corp.
    Todd Landgren, Professional Law Corp. | Todd Landgren
    Ge ta lawyer to research and talk to cops. They may continue to investigate, you are not off the hook yet. Do not talk to them without counsel
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    It means that the investigation by the police will likely proceed without benefit of your statement. If you talk to the police they will be seeking an admission (con fessionb) and likely they will convice you to admit that you took same. Police are skilled interrogators and you should not talk with the police without an attorney present.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Continue to refuse to talk with police and anyone else but an attorney about the facts. The police can try to develop additional information in an attempt to show probable cause to arrest you. Until then, you will not be arrested but they can try to contact you again.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Adam L. Bantner, P.A.
    Adam L. Bantner, P.A. | Adam L. Bantner, P.A.
    It does not mean that the investigation is over. You most likely did the right thing by refusing to cooperate and be interviewed. In most situations, they only want to interview to get incriminating evidence. Nothing you say will get them off of your back. The statute of limitations for grand theft is 2-4 years (I'd have to look up the statute to tell you exactly), which means that if they think they have enough evidence to arrest you, they can arrest you at anytime before the limitations period expires. If you are contacted by law enforcement in the future, you should speak with an attorney before deciding whether to speak with them. Good luck
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    You did the right thing. Without an admission from you, they probably don't have enough to support charge. Keep quiet. If they want to talk to you again, refuse again and contact a lawyer ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Anderson Walsh PLLC
    Anderson Walsh PLLC | STACI LYNN ANDERSON
    You were wise to assert your 5th Amendment right to remain silent. However, it is doubtful that the two week time frame.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/20/2012
    Rudolph A. Serra, Attorney
    Rudolph A. Serra, Attorney | Rudolph A. Serra
    You have a "right to remain silent." USE IT! The police cannot force you to make a statement. If they contact you, I strongly recommend you contact a lawyer and have that lawyer with you if you decide to attend any meeting or to reply to their contact. The value of the item would make it a felony. The policy of the police varies depending on the LOCATION [what police department] but the only way you could be compelled to testify is with a Court Order [subpoena] and even a court can order you to incriminate yourself. The police have many little tricks they use to try to subvert the 5th Amendment. You should not say anything to them at all.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Keep in mind that you never have to talk to the police. The silence could mean a number of things. It could mean the investigation is still ongoing, they have prioritized other matters in the meantime, or the matter has been dropped. You can always contact the police and check for a status of the investigation. If charged, you need to get a lawyer involved right away.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    All citizens have a 5th amendment privilege to remain silent. You are not required to grant the police an interview. The police may still be conducting an investigation trying to gather enough evidence to charge you.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    You have a right to refuse to submit too questioning and, in almost all cases, you would be wise to politely exercise that right. It is also very important to consult with an attorney at the early stages to avoid, where possible, the filing of a complaint and/or the issuance of a warrant for your arrest.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    You may still be charged but only time will tell. You have no obligation to consent to a police interview and if questioned you have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right your statements can be used against you.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    No, it means that they are still investigating it, and you could be indicted, if the victim can establish some evidence that you were in the house, maight have taken it, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 10/5/2011
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