The short answer is ‘yes’, a policeman (or policeperson) can — and often does– lie to you during their investigation. Of course, if they are under oath and on the stand in a courtroom, they are required to tell the truth. But I am talking about during the investigation phase. That time when they are asking you questions usually at the police station.
Sometimes, the policeman will tell you that someone in another room has already told them everything and they are giving you an opportunity to tell your side of it so that they can talk to the prosecutor and help you get a better deal. Sometimes they will tell you that they have evidence that they really don’t have. I’ve listened to tapes where the same policeman went to four different rooms and told each one of the potential defendants that he already knew everything — when in reality he had not gotten information from anyone.
Remember that during the investigation, it is the policeman’s job to get the information needed to help get a conviction. If they are talking to you in an interview room, they are not trying to be your friend!
So what should you do? The police officer will probably read you what are called ‘Miranda’ rights. These include the ‘right to remain silent, and anything that you say can and will be used against you in a court of law’ and the ‘right to an attorney and have that attorney present during questioning, if you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for you’. Once you have been read these rights you need to tell the officer ‘I want to talk to my attorney before I speak with you’, and then be quiet.
Don’t say, ‘do you think I need an attorney’? or ‘maybe I should talk to an attorney’. Very clearly say, ‘I want to talk to my attorney before I speak with you’. and then be quiet and say nothing else.
The policeman will probably tell you that they can’t help you if you refuse to talk to them, but stick to your statement and wait to speak to your attorney before you talk to them. This might mean you will spend the night in jail until you can have an attorney appointed for you, but that is much better than having you say something that can be used against you later.
If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.