Can the Police Lie to Me?
Many "suspects" in Florida and across the U.S. wonder if it is legal for police to lie when asking questions or interrogating a suspect. The simple answer is yes, they can. While everything you see on television regarding the criminal process isn't always the way it actually works, police can and often do lie in an effort to get a suspect to admit to a crime - in some cases, the alleged offender is actually innocent but has been worn down after countless hours of questioning. Unfortunately, many have even admitted to crimes they did not commit out of frustration and the fact they have reached the "breaking point." In this situation, police officers often tell the suspect that if they will just admit their involvement it will be easier on the suspect - even making an individual think he or she will be free to leave in some cases.
Of course, lying is a form of deception, considered unethical under most circumstances. For police officers, deceptive tactics are an invaluable tool and a strategy often employed when a suspect chooses not to remain silent or waives his or her rights to a lawyer.
Lying doesn't always mean a police officer lies outright. For instance, a law enforcement officer may make you believe he or she is understanding or sympathetic of your situation in an effort to get you to share more information. In other cases, a police officer may work to make the suspect believe the crime committed really is not all that serious, or minimize the suspect's fault or blame in the situation.
Police often make statements to suspects regarding the testimony of others that will support their suspicions, tell someone suspected of a crime that they have an eyewitness who will testify, or even go as far as to claim forensic evidence exists.
The bottom line is that yes, police can lie to someone suspected of committing a crime in Florida, to a certain extent. Whether you call it deception or lying, the purpose of an interrogation is to get an individual to say something or provide information that may not be in his or her best interest.
Both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Florida Second District Court of Appeal have found deception used by police permissible; the U.S. Supreme Court in Frazier v. Cupp (1969), and the Florida Second District Court of Appeal in Florida v. Cayward (1989). Oral deception or lying during questioning to a suspect is permissible and legal, however manufacturing or fabricating evidence is not.
In the end, it is highly advised that suspects request a lawyer and refuse to answer questions posed by police. If you have been arrested, invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Police can and usually do lie to those they suspect is involved in any type of criminal activity - and they can and WILL use anything you say against you. Contact an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney immediately.