Queens County Bar Association
Martindale Hubbell - Distinguished 2023

Are Police Allowed to Lie to Me During Questioning?

Not only are they allowed to but I think that they are encouraged to do that. They do not consider it an immoral thing to trick or mislead somebody that they think committed a crime. The most common thing they will tell the defendant is, “Hey, if you don’t talk to me, then we’re definitely going to arrest you because obviously you must be hiding something”. That’s simply a trick. They’re going to arrest them if they can, whether or not you make a statement. The statement is something that will add to the case against you and is often the most important thing that’s used to convict somebody.

When the officer pretends to be the good guy and tells you how you can help yourself by giving him your side of the story, that’s a trick and you should never be fooled. Often, they will say, “Well, we were told by somebody else that such and such happened. What’s your side of the story?” It’s usually a lie, but it’s not illegal and I don’t think that the police think of it as immoral.

How Intense Or Heavy Handed Can The Police Get During Questioning?

The really heavy-handed beatings and such that used to take place when I was a young lawyer don’t happen very often anymore. Police are more subtle than just beating a confession out of somebody. However, they will use the technique of keeping you in a room for a long, long period of time, sometimes deprived of food and drink, under circumstances that are designed to weaken your resolve. How far they can go with that is a question that has to be decided in the court. Sometimes courts have allowed the questioning to go on for more than 24 hours and said, “Well, that’s not improper”. Other courts have said quite the opposite.

Should Someone Ever Give A Statement To Police After Being Arrested?

In almost every case, it is better to not say anything, even when you think your statement will clear you. For instance, if the officer says, “Well the crime happened on last Tuesday”, and you can prove that you were in Chicago last Tuesday, why tell him? The officer or the district attorney might then talk to the complainant and the complainant might “suddenly realize” that the crime didn’t happen on Tuesday, it was actually Thursday. So there’s almost never a situation where, when talking to the police, you should give an alibi or give any kind of statement whatsoever.

It’s certainly never a good idea to give your side of the story when there is a civilian complainant because the officer is not interested in deciding who is right, he’s interested in making his case and whatever you tell him will do one of two things. Either it will help him make his case or it will do nothing. There is no third option- It will never help your case. If your statement is actually helpful, it is not admissible in court while any statement that winds up being harmful is admissible against you. So the advice that’s almost always to be followed is never ever make a statement to the police with or without your attorney.

For more information on Police Lying During Questioning, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (718) 793-5700 today.

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