Police Tactics to Get You to Talk

Interrogation room

Most people are at least somewhat aware they should not talk to the police, however conversely, a large percentage of those same people do talk.

Many innocent believe if they simply tell the truth, they will be on their way home much more quickly.

Those who may have done something wrong, sometimes believe they can talk their way out of it.

Whatever the situation, police officers are trained to get suspects to talk, and once they do talk anything they say can be taken out of context and used against them to gain a conviction.

All people—guilty or innocent—should contact an attorney before saying anything to the police. It is a good idea, however, to know what to expect in order to protect your rights until your attorney arrives.

Interrogation Through the Reid Technique

A technique developed in the 1940’s, known as the Reid Technique is still commonly used among police officers. If you haven’t experienced it firsthand, you may have witnessed the Reid Technique on a television show or movie. The suspect is taken to a small, dreary room at the police station, with one police officer playing “good cop,” and the other taking the “bad cop” role. While the movies may exaggerate the Reid Technique for effect, real life officers rely on the three basic concepts to extract a confession from the suspect. These concepts are:

Isolation is the first Reid Technique concept. When a person is isolated from friends and family, he or she can feel very vulnerable and alone, particularly when being grilled in an interrogation room by the police.

The second Reid Technique concept is known as maximization. Under this concept the officer tells the suspect that he or she is guilty, and that the officer knows it and the suspect knows it. The officer will then present the theory of the crime, which may or may not have evidence to support it. Keep in mind that police officers are legally allowed to lie to suspects in order to gain a confession. Every time the suspect claims his or her innocence, the office either ignores or refutes the claim. (“bad cop” portion of the interrogation).

The third Reid Technique concept is minimization. After the “bad” cop has made it clear that he knows the suspect is guilty, and has refused to listen to claims of innocence, the “good” cop takes over. The “good” officer tells the suspect that he understands why the suspect did what he or she did, and attempts to convince the suspect that he or she will feel much better after a confession. The “good” cop may tell the suspect that once he or she confesses, there might be a chance to go home, lesser charges, and/or the police officer will help the suspect by “explaining” everything to the prosecutor.

Confession Time

At this point, if the suspect has been grilled for a sufficient amount of time, a confession may pour out. Unfortunately, this technique has convinced many innocent people, particularly those who have learning disabilities or a mental illness, to confess to a crime they did not commit. While the Reid Technique is most often used in a police station following an arrest, there are many other times police officers will try to get suspects to talk.

If an Officer is Talking to You He or She Likely Already Believes You Did Something Wrong

You should know that if you are pulled over by a police officer while in your vehicle, the officer already thinks you did something wrong. If an officer shows up on your doorstep—unless you are a witness to a crime—the officer already believes you did something wrong. What this means, is that no matter what technique the police officer uses to get you to talk, you should always, always, resist. Politely state that you will not answer questions without your attorney present—as many times as you must.

Sidestepping Miranda

Unfortunately, many police officers now see the Miranda warning as a “manageable annoyance.” They may see the Fifth Amendment as an obstacle to a safe society, therefore are comfortable, at least in some circumstances, setting that obstacle aside. Further, in addition to the many “ploys” police officers use to get a confession, they start off with a clear psychological advantage.

Imagine being in an interrogation room, seated in an uncomfortable chair, unable to get a drink of water or go to the bathroom. Belligerent police officers are assuring you they know you committed the crime, and they already have all the details and evidence, so things will go much easier for you if you simply confess. For the average person, it can be very difficult to avoid the desire to please these authority figures.

Does Silence Equal Guilt?

Many people also believe that silence equals guilt. They feel if they invoke their right to remain silent, it will look like they are guilty. The police officers use this fear to their advantage. No matter what the police say or imply to you, you are always better off remaining silent. After all, the best way to avoid saying something potentially incriminating is to say nothing, and wait for your experienced Mississippi criminal defense attorney to arrive.

Contact Our Jackson Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been charged with any type of crime in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced Mississippi criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These are serious charges and must be fought aggressively. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at (601) 265-7766.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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