If the police stop you on the street, they will probably start asking you questions. You may think you are obligated to answer, but you are not, except for giving your name and address if asked.
Other than that, you can tell the police that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent. This is wise, even if you have nothing to hide because it prevents you from saying anything that the police could somehow use against you. Turning the tables and asking some questions yourself can improve your situation and protect your rights.
Here are some questions that could be helpful.
Am I free to leave?
The longer you stand there, the more likely something problematic will happen, so it’s better not to stay any longer than you have to. But you also do not want to go before you are allowed to. So just ask the officers if you are free to go.
Are you arresting me?
The police are allowed to stop you briefly, but not indefinitely. If they want to keep you there then they need to detain and arrest you. So, asking if they are doing that, rather than just waiting for them to tell you that you are free to go, may get you out of there sooner.
Can I call my attorney?
This is the first thing you need to ask if the police confirm they are arresting you. With legal guidance, you can avoid mistakes that could worsen your situation.
While some police officers are social people who just like to chat, it is far safer to assume that if the police stop you, they have a particular reason for it. Knowing your rights and obligations will be crucial.