When the police arrest you, you will likely feel frightened and worried about your future. It is common for people to look for any sort of support or compassion that they can find in a stressful situation, and some police officers can be quick to take advantage of that vulnerability.
Anyone who has watched a TV show about law enforcement knows about “good cop, bad cop.” Police officers try to trick, manipulate and intimidate people by having one officer seem aggressive and another compassionate.
Other times, police officers might make promises to a person during interrogation or make incredibly misleading statements, like claims that they have DNA evidence or a confession from someone else involved. Does a law enforcement lie impact your defense options?
The courts have decided that, in many cases, it does not matter if police officers lie to people
Challenging the evidence against you or trying to retract a confession or statements made during an interrogation are common defense strategies. If someone confesses or makes statements that implicate them during a police interrogation, they may try to push back on the police behavior during that questioning as illegal or a violation of their rights.
Occasionally, the courts will agree that a police officer’s misrepresentation went too far. For example, in a case involving deadly child abuse, the father of the child made statements to police implicating himself when they told him the child was still alive and needed emergency medical care. That particular lie was egregious enough to convince the courts to throw out his statement during his later trial.
Barring such extreme misrepresentations of the truth, defendants will have a hard time excluding evidence just because the police lied to them during questioning.
Knowing your rights is the best offense when dealing with the police
You cannot always trust what a police officer says to you during an interrogation because their goal is often to have you implicate yourself in a crime. Your best option during questioning, regardless of what the police officers involved say to you, is to remember your most basic civil rights; (1) the right to have an attorney present during your questioning and (2) the right to remain silent.
Police officers may not want you to invoke these rights and would prefer you waive your right to counsel and your right to remain silent. So, knowing ahead of time that you will need to staunchly stand up for them can help you avoid making a mistake that could lead to your conviction. Understanding your rights when facing criminal charges can help you plan for your defense.