In the following video; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrgVYPkkqX0

An individual is sitting in front of a home when a service call about a "suspicious" person/vehicle is made. The police respond and begin to ask the person a few questions which the person refuses to answer. The individual lets them know that he has a legal reason for being where he is. Unbeknownst to the cops, he is an insurance adjuster. They arrest him for "obstruction" for not answering questions.

Is it legal to arrest someone for obstruction for refusing to answer questions?

  • Anybody who has watched a cop show in the last 50 years should know that "you have the right to remain silent..." It is a staple of American television, and should be ingrained in the conscious of every US citizen. Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


According to the ACLU, there are certain questions you have to answer when entering the US, and in some states you may have to identify yourself when stopped and told to identify yourself. Nonimmigrant non-citizen may be required to answer questions about immigrant status posed by an immigration officer. Otherwise, you are not required to answer questions by police. A judge can order you to answer questions, but the police cannot. Also, "obstruction of justice" covers things such as destroying evidence, assaulting a process server, communicating with a juror, and can cover investigative demands by prosecutors, but not being uncooperative with police.

  • It's not obstruction of justice. It's obstruction of an officer. It's a different consideration. it's undecided even after Hiibel. Many US citizens simply don't have an id to give. In fact, most minors don't have a picture id. The video is quite a trip, btw. The police claim that not helping them is "obstruction".
    – grovkin
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 4:03

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