What Questions from Police Am I Required by Law to Answer?

Police questions you must answer.

What Questions from Police Am I Required by Law to Answer?

When being questioned by law enforcement, it is easy to incriminate yourself through your answers, even when you have the best of intentions. While some questions you are legally required to answer, for others you may let the police officer know that you are choosing to remain silent or would like to speak to an attorney before answering anything else.

When a law enforcement officer approaches you, before answering any questions at all, you have the right to ask the officer if you are free to leave. If they say yes, you can feel free to calmly walk away without answering any questions.

But what if the officer says you are not free to leave? In this case, it means the officer has a reasonable suspicion to stop you and you may be required to respond to some questions.

Questions and Requests that Require Response

Pursuant to A.R.S. 13-2412,  A.R.S. 28-1595, A.R.S. 28-4135, and A.R.S. 13-3102 you must answer truthfully and comply if an officer asks the following of you:

  • Your name.
  • Your identification/driver’s license.
  • Proof of auto insurance and vehicle registration.
  • If you have a firearm in your possession, immediate control, or in your vehicle.

Failing to provide an officer with your name or ID upon request during a stop due to reasonable suspicion can result in a class 2 misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to four months of incarceration.

Failing to provide proof of auto insurance and vehicle registration will result in a civil traffic violation with a minimum penalty of $500.

Additionally, while Arizona residents are not required to disclose if they are carrying a firearm in their vehicle or on their person, they must respond truthfully if asked. Failing to accurately answer if you are carrying a concealed deadly weapon, such as a firearm, is a class 1 misdemeanor. This charge, considered “misconduct involving weapons,” is punishable by up to six months of incarceration.

Questions and Requests that Do Not Require a Response

You are under no obligation to answer further questions from a law enforcement officer. This includes questions such as:

  • What are you doing?
  • Where are you going?
  • Why are you refusing to answer questions?
  • Have you been drinking? / How much have you had to drink?
  • Where are you coming from?
  • Do you have illegal substances in the car?
  • Do you know how fast you were driving?
  • What is your citizenship status? (Unless the questioning authority is border patrol, immigration agents, or similar).

Another question commonly asked by officers after pulling someone over is, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Responding, “No” is often the safest response so as to not inadvertently admit guilt to anything.

You are also within your rights to refuse field sobriety tests and roadside breathalyzers. In fact, declining these tests is highly recommended by defense attorneys. However, if taken into the police station, you must comply with any testing, such as blood or urine analysis.



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