Is it Illegal to Lie to a Police Officer?

Updated on April 10th, 2024 at 06:39 pm

Interviewer:  Michael, this is an added question, but is it illegal to lie to a police officer? If you are coming from a bar, and you had one or two drinks, and the officer says, “Have you been drinking?” Is it illegal to say, “No. I have not.”

Everything You Say Can and Will be Used Later On

Michael:  It’s not illegal to say that. The point is that any statement that you make can be used against you later on. You know that you’ve been drinking, you tell the officer, “No. I haven’t been drinking.” That statement will still come in to be used against you. The government certainly can argue and say, “Hey. The driver wasn’t straightforward with the officer,” because they saw all this other evidence. The court could possibly consider that. The best response is just simply to decline to answer any questions.

When you’re stopped by the police, you only have an obligation to identify yourself, or ask for identifying information, for your driver’s license, for proof of registration, proof of insurance. You can certainly provide those documents, but then, they’re going to start asking questions.

How You Should Approach Any Questioning

You can certainly say, “Officer, I decline to answer any additional questions. If you wish to write to me about whatever you think I have done, I will wait here until you let me know what you’d like to do.” You’re certainly not under any obligation to answer any questions from an officer at all.

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