Why You Should Never Talk to Law Enforcement Officials without Consulting an Attorney

David Lindsey, Attorney at Law

Anyone who has seen a television drama based on law enforcement and judicial proceedings knows how intense things can get “in the interrogation room.” In many ways, these situations are not an exaggeration. Law enforcement officials will take whatever legal means necessary to extract a confession from a suspect. Their job is to solve a crime and to do it as efficiently as possible.

Unfortunately, this has resulted in innocent people admitting to crimes they did not commit. If you have been arrested or you are being questioned about a crime, you need the counsel of an experienced attorney before speaking to law enforcement. Even if you are innocent, legal representation protects you from saying anything that can be used against you in the future.

The Reid Technique

Like any profession, law enforcement officials learn specific skills pertaining to their field of work. This includes training that helps them communicate with criminals, witnesses, and anyone else who can provide information regarding illegal activity. A portion of this training pertains to interrogations. One of the most popular methods of interrogation is the Reid Technique. Though the Reid Technique has helped many law enforcement officials solve crimes and extract confessions from criminals, it might also result in false confessions and the conviction of innocent people. An increasing amount of research has shown Reid-style techniques potentially increase the likelihood of a false confession.

The Reid Technique of interrogation begins with an interview that is similar in style to polygraph questioning. If the suspect is believed to be lying, the Reid-style interview proceeds to the second phase. At this point, the interrogator states an accusation and presents evidence, which in most cases is a bluff. When the suspect denies the accusations, the interrogator ignores the pleas of denial and continues with accusations based on non-existent evidence. Experts studying the Reid Technique believe it to be “inherently coercive” because the suspect feels hopeless and wants to end the interrogation.

Reviews of Reid-style interrogations have also shown instances in which interrogators fed incriminating details to suspects. Unfortunately, when the goal of an interrogation is to extract a confession, as opposed to a focus on information gathering, things get dicey.

What This Means for You

Far too many people assume their innocence will protect them if they are accused of a crime. This feeling is demonstrated in popular clichés, such as “the truth will prevail.” Sadly, that is not always the case and there is an unknown number of innocent people in prison that prove it false.

No matter what your circumstances, you must have a lawyer present when you are speaking to law enforcement. Whether you have been accused of a crime or the situation is presented to you as one for information gathering, it is essential you protect your rights and your freedom. An experienced attorney offers counsel that allows you to answer questions and assist law enforcement in solving a crime without incriminating yourself.

Do you have legal questions? Have you been asked to speak to law enforcement about a situation that involves the law? We will support you and ensure your rights are protected. Before you do anything else, contact David Lindsey, Denver criminal law attorney.

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