When you are accused of a crime, the police will often work on to coaxing a confession -even if you didn’t actually do it. That’s why it’s common for criminal lawyers to help clients who have made false confessions. There are many techniques used coaxing a confession to crimes and this article covers the two most common methods. The best way to avoid falling prey to one of these tricks is to contact a defense attorney as soon as you learn that you are being investigated for a crime.
The Reid Technique (AKA Good Cop/Bad Cop)
This is by far the best known of police intimidation techniques because it is so commonly featured in TV shows and movies and has even become a recognized writing trope. Essentially, an officer is aggressive to the suspect, who the officer will insist is guilty of the crime, intimidating them so they feel pressure to confess. After the initial intimidation, another officer (or sometimes the same one) is friendly, offering a kind voice who wants to help the suspect by taking their confession so they can go home, face lesser charges, feel unburdened, etc. Between the two police intimidation techniques, the suspect is scared and then comforted, coaxing a confession from the defendant in order to avoid further intimidation and/or to help out the good cop who helped him.
Informal Questioning for Coaxing a Confession
Many people, particularly those who have faced charges before, know that you should always request to speak to a lawyer before agreeing to speak with the police. For this reason, the Reid Technique will sometimes fail because the attorney will support his client through the interrogation, minimizing its effects. That’s why sometimes police will try informally questioning a suspect without actually arresting them.
Any time you answer police questions without being placed under arrest and without a defense lawyer at your side, you are participating in informal questioning. Unfortunately, many people do not realize they are suspected of committing a crime when they speak to the police and they also believe that their statements cannot be held against them since they have not been Mirandized. In fact, if the police want to question you, there is a good chance they already believe you are involved with a crime. Additionally, anything you say to the police can be used against you later, even if you have not been read your rights yet. That is why you should refuse to answer any questions until you speak with your attorney.
Police Can and Do Lie to Suspects
Whether you are being formally or informally questioned, it is also important to remember that police are permitted to lie during interrogations. This means they can tell you a friend of yours confessed and implicated you in the crime, or that they can tell you they have evidence against you that doesn’t actually exist. In many cases, police work on coaxing a confession because they do not have enough evidence to arrest or convict a person without a confession.
It is common for the police to ask for you to take a phony lie detector test and then claim you are lying while you take the fake lie detector. All of this means that even if you believe the police have all the evidence they need to convict you of a crime even if you insist you are innocent, you still should not confess until you first speak with a defense attorney because these all could be tricks for coaxing a confession from you.
If you have been accused of any crime or believe you may be under investigation for one, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.
Creative Commons Image by Dennis Crowley