You have certain civil rights established under federal law, and police officers investigating alleged criminal activity should not violate those rights. However, they can trick you into giving up those rights yourself in some cases.
Knowing your rights before the police arrest you or come knocking on your door will help you better manage that situation appropriately. Understanding the ways that police officers may try to trick you during an investigation can help you avoid falling victim to some of the more common mistakes made by those facing criminal charges.
Police will use your sense of decorum against you
Your parents probably raised you to invite someone inside when they show up on your front porch. Your sense of hospitality or your internal desire to comply with the requests of someone in an authority position can work against you when the police come knocking.
Police officers who would not have other grounds to enter your house can try to trick you into inviting them inside so that they can have a cursory search of the premises. Although they cannot force them their way inside unless they have probable cause or are involved in a hot pursuit, they can certainly gain access with your consent and then find an excuse to keep searching.
They try to make you think they are on your side
During a traffic stop, the police officer who pulled you over asks to search your vehicle. When you don’t immediately agree, they explained that this way they don’t have to call for another unit to bring a drug-sniffing dog, so you quickly agree.
You assume that they want to help you by avoiding an escalation of the situation. However, police officers can lie to you legally about their intent when they want you to answer their questions or consent to a search.
They make you think that sticking up for your rights will hurt your case
In some countries, criminal defendants have a hard time referencing personal experiences if they do not make a statement to the police. Simply put, people have to make statements in order to claim their personal experience as fact as part of their defense.
In the United States, that is not how the system works. You do not have to disclose anything to the police during questioning. Your right to remain silent trumps any obligation to comply with a police investigation. You can always provide police with crucial information that could help them solve the crime through your attorney rather than subjecting yourself to questioning because you think that refusing to answer questions will make you look guilty.
When you understand how the police will try to trick and manipulate you, you’ll be in a better position to defend against criminal charges.