What is a warrant?
A warrant is an order, issued by a judge, instructing a police officer to search a certain place or to arrest a certain person. A judge has to decide if a warrant should be issued or not. Sometimes the police need a warrant to conduct a search or make an arrest. Other times they do not need one.
Is there a warrant for my arrest?
The circuit clerk in the county where the warrant was issued should have a record of the warrant. It may take several days for the clerk's office to update their records.
Contact the circuit clerk in that county to see if a warrant has been issued for your arrest. However, in many cases you may be arrested even if there is no warrant.
Do I have to talk to the police?
No. You do not have to make a statement, answer police questions or participate in a police investigation. You have the right to remain silent if police try to question you about a crime. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court.
Note: If an officer requests your personal information, you generally need to provide your real name, address, age, and date of birth. You do not have to provide other information.
Do I have to take a lie detector test?
No. You are not required to take a lie detector test. This applies to people who are under arrest, as well as those who have not been arrested.
A lie detector test is not always correct. It may show that you are lying even though you are not, or say that you are telling the truth when you are really lying. This is why taking a lie detector test can be very harmful even if you are telling the truth.
Do I have to participate in a line-up?
Only if you are under arrest. You do not have to go to a police station in order to participate in a line-up if you have not been placed under arrest.
Can the police lie?
Yes. Police are allowed to lie to you during an investigation. Common techniques involve lying about the strength of the case they have against you, or what evidence they have against you.
Talk to a lawyer before talking to the police
It is best that you contact a criminal defense lawyer before making any statements in a criminal case. Even if you are told that police officers only want to question you, or that you are only a witness, you should still speak with a lawyer first.
Statements to the police
Anything that you say to police officers, state's attorneys, or anyone else, with the exception of your lawyer, can be used as evidence against you if you are charged with a crime. This can include formal, signed statements, as well as verbal replies to questions or comments.
What happens if I don’t participate?
Although you have a right to refuse to answer questions in a criminal investigation, this may or may not be in your best interest.
For example, in a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigation, the fact that a person has not participated in the criminal part of the investigation may have a negative effect on the family law part of the investigation.
It is always best to speak with a criminal defense lawyer before deciding if you should participate in an investigation or not.