You could be walking home from a friend’s house, walking to or from work or even just out for a leisurely walk when you are stopped by police for questioning.
Knowing your rights in this type of situation can help keep you out of trouble with law enforcement and, hopefully, send you on your way without issue.
Keep reading to learn more about what to do if you’re stopped by police for questioning on the streets in Wisconsin.
If you’ve been arrested for suspicion of a crime in Beloit, Milwaukee or elsewhere across the state, contact an experienced Wisconsin law firm right away.
Tips for Talking to Police in Wisconsin
Just as being pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving in Wisconsin can be alarming, it can also feel very intimidating to be stopped by a police officer at other times. It’s best to consider the following common sense tips when you encounter the police in Wisconsin:
- Don’t run
- Try to stay calm
- Keep your hands in sight
- Be respectful
- Know your rights
If you are taken into custody by police in Rock County or elsehwhere in Wisconsin, contact a knowledgeable attorney right away.
“Do I Have to Show Identification to Police if Stopped on the Street?”
If the police ask you to show them your identification and you have not been detained or taken into custody, you are not legally required to show your ID in Wisconsin.
Do keep in mind that refusing to do so does set a certain tone and may cause the police to become suspicious.
Stay calm and maintain a polite and respectful demeanor when talking to the police.
“Do I Have to Answer Police Questions on the Street in Wisconsin?”
No, you don’t have to answer any police questions if you have not been arrested. Instead, you can calmly and respectfully say, “I do not want to talk.”
The police may not appreciate your answer since they may suspect you may have knowledge of a possible crime, either first-hand or as a potential witness.
While it is your choice whether or not you answer questions, keep in mind you are not legally required to do so if you have not been charged with a criminal offense. In fact, you might even be risking criminal charges if you do choose to talk, depending on the circumstances under which the police have stopped you.
You may be best advised to refrain from answering questions, as mentioned above, and simply ask, “Am I free to go?”
“How Do I Know When I’m Free to Go After Being Stopped by Police in Wisconsin”
If, after being stopped by police on the sidewalk or street in Wisconsin and informing them you do not wish to answer any questions, you might ask the police officer, “Am I free to go?”
If the police answer, “Yes,” you may walk away–but do so slowly and calmly, keeping your hands in sight. Remember to be respectful at all times.
If the police answer, “No,” ask the officer why you are being detained, then contact a skilled attorney as soon as you are able.
For some examples of why you might choose not to participate in optional questioning in these situations, read the article, “4 Reasons to Keep Quiet Around the Police” by The Fitzgerald Law Firm.
When You Can Expect to be Detained by Police for Questioning in Wisconsin
Keep in mind, law enforcement must have a reasonable suspicion in order to insist you stay longer for questioning. This means, there must be some reasonable indication that a crime has taken place, is going to take place or is being planned to take place.
If the police believe there is sufficient reason to continue investigating, you may become subject to a pat down search or frisk–just as an officer may want to search your vehicle during a traffic stop in Wisconsin.
Should this happen, remain calm and do not make any movement to resist. Instead, you may use your words to communicate to the officer that you do not give consent for such a search.
If you were detained by police in Beloit, Janesville or elsewhere in Wisconsin, it’s important for your case and your freedom that you contact a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
FREE 15-Minute Legal Consultation
The Fitzgerald Law Firm in Beloit is committed to defending the rights of clients across Wisconsin and is pleased to offer a FREE 15-minute consultation at no obligation to discuss the details of your case. Click the link below to get started.