Skip to main content
Criminal Defense

Can police lie to obtain a confession?

By November 10, 2017April 2nd, 2024No Comments

If you ever find yourself in an interrogation room with police officers who are questioning you about a crime, the first thing to remember is your right to remain silent.

Most criminal defense attorneys will tell you to use that right in most circumstances, and to consult with your lawyer before making any statements to the police.

When you are in the room with police, they can use many tactics to try to obtain a confession — including lying.

Can police lie to you to obtain a confession?

The simple answer is yes.

Here are some ways they could present false information in an attempt to get you to confess:

  • They can lie about having physical evidence — Courts allow police officers to tell you they have your fingerprints or DNA, even if they don’t. This is a method they use to try to get you to say you committed the crime, even if you didn’t. This is also why your lawyer will advise against you speaking to police without he or she beside you.
  • They can “trick” you into giving them a DNA sample — Although collecting a DNA sample is simply routine now for some arrests — mostly violent crimes — detectives will often try to get your DNA through other means if they don’t have a warrant. They could offer you a drink or a smoke while in the interrogation room, and they can even go through your trash or personal belongings to find something with a DNA sample to tie you to the crime scene.
  • They can give you tests that won’t hold up in court — You’ve heard about polygraphs and other forms of tests. Police are allowed to tell you that you failed said test, and if you admit to something because they told you that, your admission could hold up in court.
  • They can tell you they have witness statements against you — even if they don’t.
  • They can tell you they turned off the cameras or the sound recorders — even if they didn’t.
  • They can tell you that you will be punished more for not speaking to them, or that the prosecutor will be tougher on you — even though that’s not true. You have the right to remain silent.
  • They can threaten to send your friends or family to jail, even if it’s a lie, but they cannot threaten to harm them or take them from their home.
  • They can tell you they will help you, that your confession will help you in the long run. This is not true. The most difficult cases to pursue are the ones in which the defendant has not said a word to police.

If you or someone you love is accused of a crime, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call Jacqui Ford’s office today for help.