Police officers are expected to uphold and enforce the law. However, it may come as a surprise to you that they are not always required to act honestly. In today’s post, we discuss the dishonest – but legal – ways that the police may behave, and what you can do about it.
Police can lie
It is legal for the police to lie to you during an interrogation. If they believe you have committed a crime, they could make false claims that they have evidence against you, in order to get you to confess. They could also pretend to empathize with your situation and downplay the severity of the offense. Young people can be especially vulnerable to these tactics, because they expect the police to tell the truth.
It is important to understand that lying tactics are a real possibility in any interrogation. You should not rely on the police for the facts.
You should not lie
While it is legal for the police to use deceit to get a confession, the same rules do not apply to the person who has been detained. If you lie during an interrogation, you could be charged with obstructing justice under section 139 of the Canadian Criminal Code. However, you do have important rights in an interrogation scenario.
You can choose to say nothing
You are not required to answer any of the interrogating officer’s questions. Your right to remain silent is a constitutional right, and you cannot face penalties for choosing not to respond during an interrogation.
You can ask for a lawyer
You have a right to a lawyer if you’ve been arrested. As soon as you communicate that you want a lawyer and do not want to be questioned anymore, the police are legally required to stop the interrogation until your lawyer arrives. This is the most important step you can take, because your lawyer is required to be honest with you, and they will advocate on your behalf. A lawyer is also experienced at dealing with the police and ensuring your rights are protected.