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Your innocence could depend on knowing when police can lie

| Jun 18, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

If you believe honesty is the best policy, you’ll be disappointed to learn that police in Maryland don’t always agree. Though it’s illegal for you to lie to a police officer, it’s not illegal for him or her to lie to you.

However, as anyone with experience in criminal defense can tell you, there are limits. Police can lie, but they can’t do whatever they want.

Lies from police

Because confessions are so valuable in prosecuting crimes, police try to convince suspects to confess. If lying seems like an expedient way to do that, police might mislead a suspect.

For instance, the police might claim that someone else has blamed the suspect. Officers might behave in a comforting manner to establish trust. No matter the lie, there’s always a common denominator: The police lie because they think it will convince the suspect that confessing would be beneficial.

Exceptions

Though police can mislead you, it’s illegal to force or coerce a confession. If you confess, it has to be of your own free will.

Unfortunately, the boundary between a coerced confession and a voluntary confession isn’t always straightforward. One judge might look at the circumstances and deem a confession voluntary, but another might disagree.

What this means

Because the legal boundary between a coerced confession and a voluntary confession is murky, it’s best to refrain from incriminating yourself. Even if the police act friendly, they’re not. They don’t have your best interest in mind. They’re just trying to get information, and they’ll use all the tools legally available to them.

Police questioning can be stressful and even frightening. Contacting a criminal defense attorney might help you navigate any questions from the police.