I’m not looking for legal advice and all answers to my query are accepted as non-expert and non-binding.
Hypothetical situation: You are brought into the local police station for questioning regarding a serious crime. In fact, you are not involved in the crime at all, you have no knowledge about who is involved and cannot provide any information that would help solve the crime. In addition to this, you have a rock solid, easily verifiable alibi for the time the crime was committed. In short, you can very easily stop the police from wasting time pursuing a fruitless investigative course (you) and force them to look for a better path.
But you don’t do this. You don’t like the police, have nothing going on for a day or two and don’t mind screwing them over and wasting their time. As a result you just deny involvement in the crime but otherwise choose to remain silent and answer no questions regarding your activities at the time of the crime or any connection they think you may have with the victim. At no point in time do you lie to the police. Only after several hours of questioning do you “remember” your alibi.
What are the legal ramifications of this? You hear lots of talk about charging less than compliant people with obstruction but I don’t believe that’s a credible threat in this case. In the U.S. officially, I believe that the police and the prosecutor would be limited to arresting you and tossing you in a cell for couple of days while they investigate your alibi at which point you would be released with no charges filed. Unofficially, I imagine the police would take a bit more interest in your activities for the next few months.
I’m mostly interested in answers from outside the U.S. but if you can correct my understand of U.S. law and the fifth amendment then by all means proceed.