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What do you mean the police are allowed to lie to me?

Most people hold law enforcement officials to a higher standard, and Ohio residents are probably no exception. To find out that police officers can deceive you when they question you may come as a shock. It is also something that you need to be aware of if you find yourself on the receiving end of an interrogation.

It doesn't matter whether it happens on the side of the road, at the police station or even in your home -- if you let them in -- which is a separate issue. Police can tell certain lies in an attempt to get you to provide them with information.

What can police lie about?

The United States Supreme Court, along with other appellate courts, has approved this method of interrogation for years throughout several cases. Not every interrogation method involving a lie has been tested in the courts, but the ones below have stood the test of time and litigation:

  • You could undergo a fake polygraph test in which police tell you that the machine indicated that you lied in order to elicit a confession from you.
  • An officer could tell you that he or she is turning off a recording device in order to have an "off-the-record" conversation. You should know that no conversation with police is private or unofficial.
  • If an officer tells you that police found physical evidence proving you committed a crime or connecting you to one in some other way, it may not be true.
  • That supposed eyewitness the police told you about might not exist.
  • An officer may tell you that, if you refuse to cooperate, it will hurt your case or that prosecutors could charge you with obstructing justice for not answering their questions. Exercising your right to remain silent is not equal to lying to the police, which is obstruction of justice.

Officers could use one or more of these lies in an attempt to get you to incriminate yourself. As wrong and distasteful as it seems, this is an accepted part of interrogation. At this point, you are the only one who can protect your rights if you do not yet have a legal advocate with you.

Under these circumstances, the only things you should say when questioned by police are that you are invoking your right to remain silent and that you want to speak with an attorney before answering any questions. This may not make officers happy, but they must stop questioning you at this point.

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