You Have The Right To Remain Silent…
We’ve all seen the movies where a suspect is arrested and read his rights. And unlike the fictional storyline on television, Miranda rights are guaranteed in the Constitution, and if you are unfortunate enough to have a police officer read them to you, it would be worth your while to take advantage of them. An experienced officer knows you have the right to remain silent, but also knows that you are more than able to volunteer information should you so desire. You may feel pressure to reveal what you know about the crime in question, or even to confess in the interrogation room. That is partly because police training provides officers with some pretty powerful psychological strategies to employ when working with suspects, not the least of which includes deception.
What you may interpret as friendly, inconsequential chatter with a police officer must always be entered into with caution. If you are being questioned, assume you may be a suspect. Always ask if you are free to leave. If not, provide your name only, and politely request an attorney be present before further discussion.
The Reid Technique
Police have been trained to manipulate and coerce suspects using what is known as the Reid Technique. The three components of this technique have been dramatized on crime TV for decades, and include:
- Suspect Isolation: Suspects are locked in a small interrogation room for an uncomfortably long time in the hopes of creating anxiety and/or panic.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop Maximization: Just like in the movies, the heavy-handed cop comes in certain that you’re going to be locked up for a long, long time based on the facts at hand, steadfastly ignoring your pleas of innocence. Why would they listen to you when they have an air-tight case against you?
- Good Cop/Bad Cop Minimization: By this time you’re feeling pretty flustered, so it’s quite a relief when the tough-talking cop leaves the room, only to be replaced by a kindly face. The replacement officer feels for you, even believes that anyone in your shoes would have committed the crime—it’s only human! The soft approach is meant to gain your confidence, and ultimately, your confession.
There are Limits to What Police can Say
These interrogations are tricky because police are allowed to misrepresent what they know, making it seem like they have a solid case against you. They can outright lie, saying your DNA or hair was found at the scene, your accomplice already gave you up, or an eyewitness is coming in to I.D. you soon, even though none of that is true. They cross the line of legality only if they lie about your legal rights, threaten or physically intimidate you, force you to speak without an attorney present, or if in the “totality of circumstances” it is determined that a confession was not voluntary.
Silence is the Best Policy
Without exception, your best bet is to exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent until your attorney is present. At Courtney & Mills, our experienced Springfield criminal defense attorneys will not let you fall for any of the traps police may try to set for you. To have us by your side from the get-go, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.