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Mark I. Cohen, ESQ. NYC Criminal Attorney

5 Questions To Ask During Your Interactions With The Police


Being stopped by a police officer is one of the scariest and most intimidating experiences. Even if you have not done anything wrong, it is natural to get frightened and intimidated when a police officer stops you. While it is understandable why you would want to answer questions after being stopped by the police, you must be careful not to make any incriminating statements. Remember, you have the right to remain silent.

However, while remaining silent is an option, there are some questions you should ask a police officer before opting to remain silent. The following are some questions to ask during your interactions with a police officer.

“Am I Being Detained?”

If, for instance, an officer stops you and asks that you go to the station with them, ask them if you are being detained. When an officer detains you, it means you are not free to leave. Usually, a police officer will detain a person when they have reasonable suspicion that the person has committed an offense. If an officer says they are detaining you, you want to verify the basis behind the detention. On the other hand, if an officer tells you they are not detaining you, make sure you ask them if you are free to leave.

“How Long Will I Be Detained for?”

After a police officer tells you that you are being detained, ask them how long you will be in detention. A police officer cannot detain you for an extended period if they do not have probable cause.

“Do You Have a Search Warrant?”

If a police officer detains you and asks to search your person, home, or vehicle, you should ask them if they have a search warrant. If they do not, they cannot conduct the search without your consent. If an officer conducts a search without a warrant or your consent, any evidence they find can be inadmissible in court.

“Am I Being Arrested?”

Whether an officer says they are detaining you or not, ensure you ask them if you are under arrest. It might seem like the terms “arrest” and “detain” mean the same thing, but these two terms have different meanings. An officer will detain you if they have reasonable suspicion that you committed an offense. But they cannot arrest you unless they have probable cause that you committed a crime or a warrant signed by a judge. An arrest is more serious than detention. If you ask the police officer this question and they say “yes,” you will want to reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible and remain silent until they arrive.

“Why Am I Being Arrested?”

If a police officer tells you that you are under arrest, you should verify why you are under arrest. Understanding why you are being placed under arrest can help you know what to ask next or what to do next.

Contact an NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

If you need more information on how to interact with the police or help with a criminal case, contact the NYC criminal defense attorney, Mark I. Cohen, Esq., at 212-732-0002.


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