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Can the Police Lie to Me?

Police car

The concept of police lying to people is not new. It is a topic that has been raised countless times over the years, and it continues to cause confusion and concern among many. But can the police lie to you? Is it legal for them to do so?

Scenario One: During Interrogation

One of the most common situations in which police may be tempted to lie is during an interrogation. Suppose a suspect is denying their involvement in a crime, and the police falsely tell them that they have evidence proving otherwise. According to a Supreme Court decision in 1969, the police are allowed to use deception during interrogations as long as it doesn't involve coercion or promises of leniency. This means that it is legal for police to lie about having incriminating evidence to coax a confession out of a suspect.

Scenario Two: During an Investigation

In some cases, police may lie in their interactions with people who are not necessarily suspects. For example, they may falsely claim they have a warrant to search someone's premises or a victim's permission to search your belongings. However, in general, police are not permitted to lie to gain information during an investigation. They must be honest in their interactions and not deceive people to obtain incriminating information.

Scenario Three: When Making an Arrest

When making an arrest, police may use deception to ensure the arrest goes smoothly. For example, if a suspect is resistant, police may lie and tell them they have a warrant for arrest to get them to comply. This is generally considered legal as long as the overall arrest is valid. However, police must be careful not to use deception that could be interpreted as coercive.

Scenario Four: In Court

In the context of a court case, it's not uncommon for police to lie or stretch the truth to help secure a conviction. In some situations, this may be acceptable, such as when the lie doesn't go to the heart of the case. However, if the lie or deception materially affects the case's outcome, it will likely be considered unlawful, and the case may be thrown out.

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Milwaukee County

Understanding the complexities surrounding police deception is essential for anyone involved in a criminal investigation. The Law Offices of Jason D. Baltz is here to provide expert legal representation and guide you through any criminal defense matters you may face. Contact us at (414) 375-0797 to get started.

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