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Police Interrogation Techniques for Getting a Confession

Jeff Cole
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan & Cole

If the police want to question you, you should know what to expect and how to protect your rights. Here are three key points to keep in mind if the police interrogate you:

  • You have a right to have your attorney present when you are interrogated, and you should exercise this right immediately.
  • Police questioning is designed to produce a confession.
  • The best way to protect yourself—even if you believe you are innocent—is to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before talking to the police.

4 Techniques the Police Might Use During Your Interrogation

While their ultimate goal is to obtain your confession, police officers may also try to get incriminating statements from you that could help them charge you with a crime. Typical tactics police use to obtain their goals include:

  • Using the Reid technique. Police officers often play “good cop” and “bad cop” to get a confession. Once the bad cop claims that you are guilty, the good cop steps in and says he understands why you committed the crime and promises “good things” if you confess.
  • Going over your story. The police officers will often ask you to repeat what happened multiple times. The goal is to get you to change your story. Even in the best of circumstances when you aren’t under extreme stress, it is difficult to repeat a story without any inconsistent statements.
  • Telling you they have a witness. The police may claim they have a witness who saw you commit the crime. It’s likely the police won’t tell you the name of this person or how credible he is. The goal is for you to think that someone can incriminate you, so you end up incriminating yourself.
  • Using another suspect brought in with you. You may have been brought in with other suspects such as a friend, sibling, or girlfriend. If so, the police may claim one of them says you committed the crime. This technique can be highly effective to anger you into making self-incriminating statements or saying more than you should.

It is important to remember that the police may be lying to you when they use these tactics. They may not have a witness or a suspect pointing the finger at you.

If you are being interrogated by the police, we urge you to immediately ask that your attorney be present before they question you further. Then, call us right away at 888-733-2992 to learn how we can help you.

 


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