Can return null or empty string?

I’m learning Java coming from other programming languages (Js, C and others..)

I’m wondering if under any circumstances the method could return (without throwing) an invalid string or less than one character (ie. null or empty string ""). I’m used to double-check user input for any possible unexpected/invalid value, but I wanted to know if testing for null and myString.length() < 1 is always unnecessary or could be useful/needed.

I’m asking in particular when reading from the commandline and, not from other Streams of Files. Can I safely get the first character with myString.charAt(0) from the returned value when reading normally from the terminal input (ie. no pipes and no files, straight from terminal and keyboard)?

I searched the Java SE 9 API Docs and couldn’t find mentions about possibly unexpected return values. In case anything goes wrong with input it should just throw an Exception, right?

Example (part of main method without imports):

Scanner keyboard = new Scanner(;

System.out.print("Enter a selection (from A to E): ");
String res =;

if (res == null || res.length() < 1) {
    // Unnecessary if?


Scanner#next can never return null and if the user enters an empty string or a string containing whitespaces only then the method will block and wait for input to scan.

Therefore the if condition is redundant and is not needed at all.