Is it ok to Lie to the Police?

Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are being investigated for a crime, it is likely that a police officer will show up at your doorstep at some point to question you. No matter what the police officer says, it will not help you to confess. The police and prosecutors will not treat you better because you fessed up to the crime. And the police can lie to you in order to get you to talk. But is it ok to lie to a police officer about your involvement in a crime?

The answer is definitively no, for several reasons.

First of all, lying to a police officer who is investigating a crime in many states is also a crime. You don’t want to compound the situation by telling a lie, and getting yourself charged with even more crimes.

Second, lying never works out for anyone. Lies are difficult to keep straight. You’ll slip up somewhere, and just end up having the police have the ability to prove that you committed the crime and that you’re a liar.

Third, there is a much better option available to you. Instead of lying to the police, you can exercise your constitutional right to remain silent. This has a ton of benefits. One, police and prosecutors are prohibited from using your silence against you. On the other hand, if you lie to a police officer, the prosecution can use your statements against you, and try to convince the judge and jury that you are not only a criminal, you’re a liar. They can’t say a word to the judge or jury about the fact that you remained silent, or ask them to imply any guilt based on the fact that you didn’t speak to the police.

Further, if you remain silent, the police won’t gain any information from you. Often, police need your statements to confirm small parts of a complaining witness’ story, and whether you are lying or telling the truth, you may unknowingly be confirming part of their complainant’s version. It’s always best to say nothing at all.

Also, if you are ultimately charged with the crime, the lack of a statement from you is likely to garner you a better plea offer. Prosecutors often plea bargain based on the strength of their case, and their case is always weaker without a statement from the defendant.

So, what is the best way to actually exercise your silence if you are approached by a police officer who wants to question you about a crime? You need to simply repeat, as many times as necessary, that you do not want to speak to the police without an attorney present. Once you have hired an attorney, it will be their job to run interference with the police and to notify law enforcement that you do not intend to make a statement.

If you’re being investigated for a crime, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.