Thomas Carroll Blauvelt

Does a police officer have to be honest with you?

When people think about criminal cases, they often imagine a courtroom where someone swears that they will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It is very clear that the truth is important, and they assume that that works both ways. For instance, when talking to a police officer – even if it’s just during a traffic stop or an interrogation, and not in the courtroom – they assume that the police officer will tell the truth.

But do they have to do so? No. In a lot of cases, the police are legally allowed to lie to suspects. They do not have to be honest, even when they act as if they are. In fact, officers sometimes use lying as a tactic to get a confession. They’ll be dishonest about the evidence they have or the statements other people have made, and there have even been false confessions given under this type of pressure.

Lies can be illegal

It is important to note that there are certain ways in which a lie can be illegal for a police officer. For example, maybe the police officer is trying to convince someone to commit a crime that they wouldn’t have committed otherwise, just so that the officer can make an arrest. Lying may be part of this process. The lie itself may not be illegal, but the example above would be entrapment, which is illegal and a violation of someone’s rights.

What are your legal options?

If you have been arrested, it can be a confusing time and there is a lot at stake. Make sure you are well aware of the legal options you have and how to work through this process.

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