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Three Things You Should Know About Police Questioning

Man in dark room with elbows on table

Everyone has a different response to police questioning. Some people try to talk their way out of it. Others freely offer police everything they want to know, not realizing they were a suspect the whole time. A few know that submitting to police questioning is usually a bad idea.

To help more people understand the tactics police use to build their case, we’ve put together these three things you should know about police questioning.

  1. Police Can Lie to You

Police are under no obligation to tell the truth. They can lie about what they know, evidence they’ve gathered, and even what your friends have said. A police interrogator’s goal is to get you to talk through the use of psychological tricks.

Police might say something like, “Look. We have video footage of you breaking in. We have your fingerprints on everything. I know you did it. You know you did it. Tell us what happened, and I’ll put in a good word with the prosecutor.”

Police can make all that up, and they’ll insist that they have evidence that doesn’t exist in an attempt to wear down someone’s defenses. Once they confess, even if they weren’t guilty, it is extremely difficult to keep the conversation out of court.

  1. Silence Can Be Evidence

A 2010 US Supreme Court decision, Salinas V. Texas, determined that Americans must verbally invoke the fifth amendment right to remain silent to use it. If someone stops talking or gives police the silent treatment without specifically saying that they are using their fifth amendment right, police can use that as evidence of guilt.

  1. You Can Stop Questioning at Any Time

Anyone under police interrogation has the right to stop questioning at any time. All they need to say is, “I want to speak to an attorney.”

Unfortunately, many people believe that requesting an attorney is the same as admitting guilt. That’s simply not true. The constitution guarantees the right to an attorney, even if the accused cannot afford one. Stopping questioning to consult an attorney is not an admission of guilt; it is a patriotic invocation of the rights guaranteed in the US Constitution.

It’s always a good idea to have experienced legal representation when facing criminal charges. If you’d like an experienced Dayton criminal defense attorney from L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (937) 685-7006.