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Can the police legally lie to you?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2022 | Theft & Property Crimes

You know that there are cases in which lying to the police is a criminal offense. You could be charged with something like obstructing justice or hampering a criminal investigation.

Does that mean it works both ways? Is it also illegal for the police to lie to you, and can you trust everything that they tell you during an interrogation?

It’s a one-way street, and the police can lie

This rule actually only works one way, in that you’re not supposed to lie to the police. But they can certainly lie to you, and they will often do so.

For instance, maybe you and a friend were both arrested on criminal allegations. The police separated you to carry out the interrogations, and both of you neglected to contact your lawyer. This means that you are on your own during the interrogation.

An officer may come in and tell you that your friend just confessed to everything. They say they have enough to put you away for years, no matter what you tell them. Then they indicate that they may be able to get you a lesser sentence if you admit what you did.

But the whole thing is just a lie. Your friend didn’t confess to anything, and perhaps the two of you never did anything wrong. The police are just trying to trick you into admitting that you broke the law so that they can then seek a conviction. Even though this tactic feels unfair to you, it is typically not illegal.

The importance of understanding your rights

In a situation like this, it is very important to know about all of your rights. This is why it can help to work with an experienced legal team so you can avoid critical mistakes.