Interrogations by the Police: What to Know
by Lewis & Laws
Interrogations by the Police: What to Know
When you are arrested by the police, you may be taken to an interrogation room for questioning. Police officers often interrogate suspects in crimes to get them to admit guilt and help them uncover other suspects. Interrogations involve complex legal technicalities but suspects still have rights during this time. It is important to understand interrogations and what will happen, so you can protect those rights.
The police can arrest you, even without a warrant, but only if they believe you committed a felony or serious misdemeanor crime. Then can also arrest you on probable cause if they have a reasonable belief that you committed an offense. However, if you are in your home, the police typically need a warrant to enter the property unless there are exigent circumstances present.
Your Miranda Rights
Contrary to popular belief, police do not have to read you your rights. However, if they want to use anything you say during an interrogation, they must read you your Miranda Rights. Miranda Rights advise you of very important rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to counsel. They must read you these rights if you are in custody and if you are under interrogation.
You have a right to remain silent. When the police begin interrogating you, you simply have to say that you wish to talk to a lawyer and that you will not answer any questions without seeing an attorney first. These are your Miranda Rights, and they are there for you to use.
The Interrogation Process
When police officers take you into the interrogation room, they may try to get you to admit things that will damage your case. Remember, these are skilled interrogators, and they know how to get you to say the things they need to hear.
It is extremely important for you to invoke your Miranda Rights and speak to a Seattle criminal defense lawyer once you are taken into custody. That is because anything you say can — and will — be used against you. Even a simple “I’m sorry” can be used to show you admitted guilt. Never try to go up against skilled interrogators without legal counsel present.
During the interrogation process, there are many things police cannot do to coerce suspects into confessing. This includes:
- Psychological or physical torture
- Inhumane treatment
They can, however, use trickery, lying and non-coercive methods to get you to confess to a crime or inform on an offense. That is why you need to have an attorney present. Your attorney can help you during this time and protect your rights during the interrogation process.
It is against the law for police to coerce a confession using prohibited tactics. If police do gather information via illegal questioning, then that information cannot be used at trial. A skilled criminal defense attorney can recognize quickly if police officers and interrogators cross the line and behave inappropriately.
Quick Facts about Police Interrogations
One report about police interrogations asked 631 police investigators to report on their own beliefs and practices during interrogations. Here is what they found:
- Participants believed that interrogations were 77 percent accurate at truth and lie detection
- 81 percent of all suspects waive their own Miranda Rights
- Most interrogations last 1.6 hours
- Interrogations elicit self-incriminating statements from 68 percent of interrogations
- Most common interrogation tactic was physical isolation
Researchers have pointed to a steady stream of inconsistencies with interrogations leading to false confessions. Many include horrific tales of psychologically and physically abusive interrogations, including many on cognitively impaired children, teens, and adults.
For many of these reasons, it is important to have legal counsel with you from the moment you are arrested. Do not attempt to go through the process alone. You have rights and those rights must be protected at every step.
Contact Our Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you are arrested and charged with a crime in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, or anywhere in Washington, we can help. Our Seattle criminal defense attorneys know that some police officers may use improper interrogation tactics. As such, you should have an experienced attorney on your side from the start.
The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Lewis & Laws, PLLC, have helped and defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our confidential contact form. We know how to fight criminal charges aggressively. Call us today!