You are standing on a sidewalk outside your apartment complex while smoking a cigarette, a police officer approaches and asks what you are doing, and if you know anything about a crime that occurred earlier that day. Do you have to speak with the police? Can you leave?
The police don’t have to arrest you to speak with you. And if you aren’t in custody, or subject to custodial interrogation, the police don’t have to read you your rights (Miranda warnings). Many clients ask if the police can “just start asking questions” and tell me “they never read me my rights.” In the case of consensual encounters, the police can just ask you questions, without reading you your rights.
What is a consensual encounter?