Before conducting custodial interrogations, officers typically must inform you of your fundamental rights. Specifically, when giving you your Miranda advisement, officers must tell you about your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney present for major phases of the criminal process.
Because police interrogators have home-field advantage, even innocent individuals often end up incriminating themselves during questioning. Here are three ways you are at a disadvantage even before questioning begins.
1. The interrogation room
Officers know you want to spend as little time as possible in the interrogation room, so the stark configuration of the room is not an accident. Blank walls, a small table and two chairs make you feel uncomfortable. In an effort to stop the interrogation and move to somewhere more pleasant, you may break down and reveal incriminating information.
2. The interrogation technique
When conducting custodial interrogations, officers often employ the Reid interrogation method. This method, sometimes known as the good cop, bad cop routine, lures you into a false sense of security. Regrettably, when interrogating you, officers may lie or make up facts to try to obtain useful information or even a conviction.
3. The interrogation record
Even when officers are not in the room, they are likely to have their eyes and ears on you. After all, most interrogators videotape interrogation rooms. Any statements you make or actions you perform may become part of the official record. With few exceptions, prosecutors may use video and audiotape against you in court.
While you may think you have little or nothing to hide, you are at an extreme disadvantage during police interrogations. Consequently, invoking your rights to remain silent and to have legal counsel present may help you level the playing field.