Everyone in Georgia should understand what their rights are when it comes to police interactions. Many Americans have misconceptions about what they are allowed to do when they are approached by police officers. They may also lack understanding about the obligations of law enforcement are when dealing with civilians.
Do you have to talk to the police?
The short answer is no. You are not under any obligation to assist with an investigation or make a statement to the police. However, if you do decide to, you must be honest. In the United States, it is a crime to tell lies to the police. This is a key issue in criminal trials.
However, the police are not under an obligation to be honest with civilians. Courts, including the Supreme Court, have ruled that law enforcement officials can lie in order to enforce laws. One example of this is undercover police work. Those officers must lie in some situations, or they would not be very effective.
Police officers can also lie to get information from people. They might tell you they want to talk about your associates, when they are actually investigating you. It’s important to remember that you can’t be forced to incriminate yourself. You are never in a position where you have to speak to the police.
If you do, they can use your statements against you. That’s true even if they haven’t formally read a Miranda warning to you. Police officers are only obligated to read you your rights if they have you in custody and want to question you.