Whether you’re there in handcuffs or you walked in voluntarily, it’s scary to be stuck in a tiny room with a police detective grilling you about a serious crime.
Worse still: Most people have been socialized to believe that authority figures have to be honest with them. The brutal truth, however, is that the police can — and will — lie to get you to confess.
4 lies the police often tell suspects
If you’re sitting in an interrogation room (under arrest or not), the police are probably looking at you as their prime suspect. They want you to confess.
While they can’t lie about your right to leave (if you aren’t under arrest) or your right to counsel (if you are under arrest), they can use the following lies quite freely:
- “If you don’t let us search your car, computer, home or storage unit, we’ll just get a warrant.” If they had enough for an easy warrant, they probably wouldn’t be asking for your cooperation.
- “We have an eyewitness that says you did it.” Don’t believe it. Generally, this is said as a tactic just to pressure you into a confession.
- “Your DNA, fingerprints or hair were everywhere.” Really? Ask to see the photos of what they’ve got, if you’re curious. The odds are high this is simply another tactic to pressure you into believing that you’re already as good as convicted.
- “It’ll go easier for you if you confess.” If you confess, the charges you face are up to the prosecutor, not the police. The sentence you receive is up to the judge. The only thing a confession makes easier is a conviction.
Don’t let the police intimidate you with lies into a confession. If you’re looking at serious criminal charges over a violent crime, invoke your right to remain silent. Wait until your attorney arrives before you say — or listen — to another word.