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How the Police May Get a “Confession” from You—Even if You’re Innocent

Getting brought in by the police for questioning would be scary for anyone, especially for people who are completely innocent of the crime they’re suspected of. Playing upon this fear, police officers have specific tricks and techniques that they use to try to get an individual to confess. Often times, these methods are so effective that they actually lead to an innocent person confessing to a crime they didn’t commit. Here are a few of the ways you could be interrogated:

  • Asking leading questions – Many times when someone innocent is being questioned, they are nervous about giving the correct answer to the police, hoping that this will allow them to be released. What ends up happening all too often is that an officer will ask a question that trails off at the end and implies a very specific answer. The individual will give the answer that’s expected, even if it’s not the truth, just to seem cooperative. This tactic is frequently used, and illustrates how important it is to have a defense attorney with you during questioning.
  • Verbal and emotional intimidation – What we see in movies actually ends up happening in real life, where officers yell and throw papers off the table just to scare the person in question. This can be flat out harassment, and officers can sustain this technique for hours on end. They count on breaking your emotional resolve and hoping that you’ll confess just so they will stop. Again, a defense attorney can step in if this type of behavior occurs and will be your ally.  Many times the questioning continues for hours and often throughout the night.  The person being questioned has the right to stop the questioning by simply asking for a lawyer, but most people do not know that they can stop the interrogation.
  • Fabricating evidence – Another technique used by law enforcement is the fabrication of evidence. An officer may tell the person in question that they have a weapon with their fingerprints on it, or they have a witness that places them at the scene of the crime. There are a number of ways police can try to trick you into thinking that they have concrete evidence that you committed a crime. Sometimes they will ask you to take a polygraph test and will then tell you that you failed in an effort to get you to confess. Keep in mind, this is not the same as “planting” false evidence, but simply attempting to make you believe that they have evidence which does not exist in order to coax a confession from you.  The United States Supreme Court and the South Carolina Appellate Courts have ruled these tactics are legal making them routine  interrogation techniques.
  • Minimizing the crime – If you don’t think you will get in trouble for a crime, you’ll be more likely to confess, right? That’s what police often bet on, and will tell you that what you’ve done isn’t that big of a deal. They might even go so far as to make fake promises, stating that you’ll only have to do community service if you confess. Having an attorney present with you will remind you that you don’t need to confess just to end the interrogation.  Many times it is nearly impossible to get in touch with an attorney who can be present on such short notice.  If an attorney shows up the police may refuse to let the attorney speak to you.  The key is to ask for an attorney, and stop the interrogation.   

Remember that if you are arrested, it’s ALWAYS in your best interests to have a defense attorney by your side from the start. No matter how innocent you are, the police might use any number of tactics to get you to confess. If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact The Greg McCollum Complete Legal Defense Team today and let us leverage our knowledge and experience to protect your rights and preserve your freedom.

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