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Can the Police Lie to You?

Posted by Brian Tillman on 22 November 2010

YES!  Sorry this is such a simple post, but I sometimes get surprised talking to people at what they don’t know about police stops.  I want you to think about this- if you and a friend were pulled over, and an officer saw something illegal in the car, do you not think they could separate you and then tell each of you, “well your buddy over there just said it was all yours” or “look, the more honest with me you are, the easier this will go on you?”  This is the police doing their job, getting you to give them free information while you are not yet in custody.  And regardless of how you feel about police lying to get information, it is A-OK in the eyes of the law.

To be clear, I’m not trying to say cops in Austin or any other city are liars.  Far from it.  I think police are necessary, and I appreciate anyone who chooses to serve the public in that manner, as with firemen and EMS.  BUT, I want this to be a reality check for you, the Reader.  Policemen are professionals.  Officers do not waste their time with garbage while on the job, and if they’re asking you questions that means your answers matter.  If you are the one under investigation, then you should really just stop talking and ask whether or not you are free to go.  If so, leave.  If the officer says you are not free to leave, then you don’t have to answer any questions outside of providing your ID.  (I tell people to blame refusal to answer questions on the lawyer, then the cop can’t completely hold it against you.)

Anyway, this post is mainly for all you law-abiding folks who have never been to a jail.  All your life the police were on your side, and now you’ve been stopped.  You are now the subject of investigation, and you have every right (if not the ability) to STOP TALKING!  the question the cop is asking you is probably something he/she feels is important, otherwise they wouldn’t bother asking you.  And don’t have an attitude, it only increases your chance of going to jail.  There’s no need for that, just be polite and protect your rights by staying silent.  So if it’s just out of your character to refuse to answer a police officer’s questions, at least consider ahead of time that they are allowed to lie to you.  Nothing personal.

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