During a criminal investigation, you have certain basic rights. There are also best practices that law enforcement officers should follow to ensure that they don’t violate the rights of an individual suspected of a crime. Unfortunately, current best practices for law enforcement officers often include intentionally lying to or misleading the subject of an investigation in order to access information and evidence.
Police can lie directly to someone whom they suspect of a crime, as well as other people with secondary or tertiary connection to the crime. The better you understand your rights, the better you can determine if police violated those rights during an investigation or an arrest.
Why do police lie during an investigation?
Police lie for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious is to create a sense of urgency in a suspect that can promote honesty when they might otherwise withhold information. Beyond that, police officers may say certain things to a suspect in order to build rapport, which means they want the suspects to trust them.
Lying about what the officer believes happened or what kind of evidence the police have is a common tactic to undermine someone’s story or get them to comply with the wishes of the police. Although it is against the law for people to give false statements to the police, the same is not true for law enforcement. They can and do lie to both suspects and others during criminal investigations without any sort of consequence.
How police lies affect those accused of crimes
By misrepresenting a situation, police can make people feel like they don’t have any choice but to cooperate with law enforcement. For example, if an officer tells someone that a confidential informant places them at the scene of a crime for which the suspect has no alibi, that individual may decide to confess in the hope of securing a plea bargain that will reduce the penalties they face.
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that police dishonesty has negative consequences for innocent individuals suspected of a crime and may push them into confessing or pleading guilty to an offense that they had nothing to do with. If you believe that police violated your rights in the way they conducted an investigation, discussing those concerns with an attorney can help you better determine what options you have available.