Can Police Lie to Me?
Happy Friday, everybody, hope you’re having a great week. All right, so in many of my past videos, you have heard me say to you that you should never ever talk to the police or any type of federal investigative agency without a lawyer present. And there’s a whole host of reasons why you should always listen to and follow that advice. I want to talk to one specific one today. It’s a question that I get a lot. When a client comes in and hires me on a case, they’ve given a statement to the authorities and come to find out that something that the detective or the investigator or the agent told that person during the course of the interrogation was not true. They made something up, they lied to the client. So the client wants to know, is that allowed? Can the police lie to you when they’re interrogating you?
The answer to that is a resounding yes, they absolutely can. The Supreme Court has said that police are allowed to deceive their subjects during the course of a criminal investigation. They’re allowed to do it. Do they do it all the time? It happens constantly where the police will give you false information, or they will give a suspect false information, specifically because they’re either looking for a specific answer from you, or they’re judging your trustworthiness or your truthfulness with them, or they’re trying to coerce you into giving an admission or to a confession to something that you may or may not have had anything to do with.
So police officers can lie to you. They can tell you if they’ve got you in an interrogation room, “We’ve got this evidence against you. We’ve got this evidence against you. We’ve got this witness giving a statement. We’ve got this witness getting a statement,” and absolutely, positively none of that could be true, but they’re simply saying that because they’re trying to shake you as an individual, who’s not there protected by a lawyer, into giving them a voluntary confession or an admission or something like that. I’ve seen it hundreds of times.
And so that’s why it’s so vitally important that if you get approached by a police officer, or they ask you a question, or they ask you to come down to the station and answer something, or they ask for you to come in for a voluntary interview, the answer is always emphatically with 100% confidence, “No.” You can be respectful in your no. You can say, “I appreciate the offer, but I’m going to decline. I’d like a lawyer present with me at any time I’m giving a statement.” At that point, you call me, you get me involved. I can interface with the detective, I can interface with the investigator, and I can determine once I have a full understanding of the facts and everything, if going down and giving a statement to the police officer is going to be in your best interest.
Now, I’ll tell you, nine times out of 10, it’s not going to be, but I can make that decision from a much more educated position once I’ve spoken to the detective, I’ve gotten some facts from them, I’ve gotten some facts from you, and you and I can sit down and determine, what are the pros? What are the cons? What are the risks? And we can make that educated decision together. And then of course, if it is something that we decide to do, you’re going to go down and give a statement, I’d be sitting right next to you. If I got a weird vibe from the detective, or if the interview started to turn into a direction that I didn’t like, I can shut it off immediately, we get out of Dodge, no harm done, but that’s why you never, ever, ever give a statement to an officer without a lawyer present.
I don’t care how innocent you are. And in fact, if you have “nothing to worry about,” that’s when it’s even more vital that you have a lawyer present with you so that you can make sure that nothing’s getting misconstrued, nothing’s getting twisted around, nothing’s getting misunderstood. Those are the times when it’s even more important to have a lawyer with you to make sure that they coach you and guide you through that process safely before you say anything that somebody is going to take the wrong way. So again, advice is simple, if an officer’s asking you questions, you always have the right to tell them that you’re refusing to answer. You always have the right to refuse to talk to investigators, to special agents, to government actors. You always have the right to say, “I’d like a lawyer present before I answer anything.” And it is a right that I ask each and every one of you to exercise any time it comes up.
So as always, if you have any questions about that, if you know anybody that’s going through something like this, or that has a specific question regarding that, or if you’ve given a statement or been interrogated for something, and you’re wanting to know what you can do about it, give me a call, give me an email. I’m happy to talk to you about it, see if there’s anything I can do to help. We’ve worked those types of cases many, many times in the past, and I’d be happy to jump in and take a look. Hope you have a great weekend, and I look forward to seeing all of you guys next week. Bye now.