What Are the Most Common Misconceptions about the Arrest Process?
You Have to Answer Questions By a Police Officer
John Reade: I would say one misconception is that you have to talk to a police officer. Especially if the police officer insinuates or tells a person that they have to or if the officer threatens the individual if he/she does not answer their questions. Part of the training at the police academy is teaching an officer how to elicit information from those they suspect have committed a crime. The police know all the lines and “tricks” to use to try to get someone to incriminate him ro herself. A police officer is trained to ask questions that elicit incriminating answers.
A Police Officer is Trained to Ask Questions That Elicit Incriminating Answers
Interviewer: Can a police officer lie to someone? Is this legal?
John Reade: Police officers can legally lie to someone they suspect of having committed a crime.
Interviewer: Do you ever find a client has said something that may not be true just to appease the officer?
John Reade: Yes, and they think that is going to result in the police officer not arresting them, or not taking them to the jail. The police officer may say, “If you don’t answer the questions, I’m going to arrest you and take you to jail.”
The individual answers the questions in an effort to avoid being taken to jail or accused of a crime. But it usually doesn’t make a difference. The police officer has already madeup his/her mind on whether they are going to bring you to the jail or not or recommend you be charged with a crime(s). If a person is guilty of something, answering a police officer’s questions usually only makes things worse.
Interviewer: When do Miranda Rights have to be given to someone accused of a crime?
John Reade: When the officer has an objective basis to believe that they are going to place you under arrest. A suspect must be read their Miranda Rights when he or she is arrested or placed in custody (handcuffed) In order to avoid having to read someone their Miranda Rights a police officer can claim they were still just doing an investigation and had not made up their mind yet.
Charges have to be dismissed if an officer fails to read a suspect their Miranda Rights
Interviewer: Another misconception is charges have to be dismissed if an officer does not read a suspect their Miranda Rights.
John Reade: Some people think that because the officer did not read them their Miranda Rights that the charge(s) are going to be dismissed. Sometimes, if the violation is egregious enough, getting the charge(s) dismissed is possible. However, it usually results in a statement or statements not being admissible in court. It does not mean that the whole case gets thrown out or dismissed.