- Is it a Crime to Lie to a Police Officer? (PC 148.5)
- Can Police Lie to Me to Get a Defendant Statement?
- Can police lie in order to make you confess?
- The right to remain silent
Is it a Crime to Lie to a Police Officer? (PC 148.5)
As a person who made one small mistake and wants to avoid jail time, you are an easy target for police lies. Police enjoy broad power and freedom in determining how to do their job and gather information, including the right to lie to suspects. Police often employ tactics to induce fear in suspects and then use lies to build their trust.
For most, an arrest is a terrifying experience. In these situations, suspects are left to the mercy of law enforcement. To scare suspects, police officers often begin by laying out the maximum sentence for the suspected crime. They intentionally fail to explain that mitigating factors often result in plea agreements that involve sentences of far less than the maximums. Once they adequately scare a suspect, the police will begin to claim that, if the suspect cooperates and agrees to serve as a police informant, they will reduce or even drop the charges.
The only way to ensure the reduction or dismissal of your charges is to have your lawyer negotiate a written agreement. An experienced criminal defense attorney will determine if your actions warrant actual charges and whether you should consider working as an informant. While it may prove your best option, you need to understand the danger it can pose. The identify of informants is not confidential information once the police apprehend their target suspect.
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At trial, defendants have the right to know the identity of witnesses who will testify against them, and as an informant, you will serve as one of those witnesses. If the police ask you a question, you can say, 'No comment' or say nothing at all. The right to silence does not apply to all questions.
If the police ask for your name, address or date of birth, you must answer and you must tell the truth. Sometimes there are other questions you must answer — the police should tell you when it is one of these questions. If you are not sure about whether you must answer a question, you can ask, 'Do I have to answer?
Can Police Lie to Me to Get a Defendant Statement?
If the police ask you to do an interview, you can say no. If you are under arrest, the police might make you sit in the interview room, turn on the video camera and ask you questions anyway. This does not mean you have to answer — you can still use your right to silence. You should always get legal advice before you do an interview or answer questions from the police.
You can say to the police, 'I want to speak to a lawyer. If you decide to do an interview it will be recorded. The police can play it later in court and use it as evidence against you. You might lie to your child about the existence of the Tooth Fairy. Usually, those kinds of lies are told with the intent that the person you lied to will one day know the truth and not be angry about the lie.
- Is it a Crime to Lie to a Police Officer? (PC 148.5).
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That is not the case when the person being lied to works in law enforcement and is in the performance of his or her duties. If you lie to a police officer, you could face serious legal repercussions.
Can police lie in order to make you confess?
There are a number of California laws that you could be violating by providing false information to a law enforcement officer. Under California Vehicle Code Section 31 , it is a misdemeanor to knowingly provide false information to a person who you know or should know is a peace officer while he or she is in the performance of his or her duties. It is also a criminal offense to make a false report of a crime to law enforcement. In order to be convicted under PC Examples of this crime include reporting a car stolen when you knew that the car was not stolen or providing a falsely inflated value of the worth of property that actually was stolen.
Under PC In addition to violating California laws, you could violate federal law by lying to a federal agent, such as an agent of the FBI or DEA.
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Under 18 U. Section , it is a crime to knowingly and willfully:.
The right to remain silent
If you are convicted of lying to a federal agent, you face up to five years in federal prison and expensive fines. As you can see, there are many different ways you could end up being prosecuted for a crime when you speak to a law enforcement officer. Our law firm strongly recommends that when a police officer wishes to speak to you, do all of the following:.
Always politely tell the law enforcement officer that you choose to not answer his or her questions and you wish to speak to your lawyer.