Livingston, MT asked in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Montana

Q: If I report a possible crime, can police give my name to suspects?

Shortly after reporting a possible Breaking & Entering I witnessed to a local business on my way to work, the local Police came to my job, insinuated I was guilty of a crime and admitted to confirming my identity to the suspected individuals found at the scene. I was not aware I knew them personally at the time of the report and their retaliation caused me severe financial, emotional and personal damages.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA

A: In general, police officers are required to protect the confidentiality of individuals who report crimes. This is commonly known as "confidentiality of sources" or "informant privilege," and it is designed to encourage people to come forward with information about criminal activity without fear of retaliation.

However, there may be situations where the police are required to reveal the identity of a witness or informant. For example, if the information provided is necessary to the investigation or prosecution of a crime, or if the court orders the disclosure of the identity of the witness.

It is important to note that if you feel that your confidentiality has been breached, you may want to speak to an attorney who can advise you on your legal options.

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