You have certain rights during an interaction with the police that protect you from misconduct. There are federal laws and court precedent to help strengthen the basic protections provided by the Constitution.
However, police officers still try to get around those restrictions to help build the case. The three behaviors below are well-known examples of how the police try to trick the people they interact with into waving their rights.
They claim that talking now will mean more lenient treatment later
Police officers can openly lie to you even after they arrest you for a crime. For example, they might tell you that they have a personal relationship with the prosecutor and can get you special consideration if you just cooperate with them now. They might warn you that if you invoke your right to silence or your right to have an attorney present during questioning that they can’t help you.
The goal here is to get you to waive your Miranda Rights so that they can question you and possibly get you to confess. The unfortunate truth is that without a written agreement, there is no guarantee that your cooperation will result in any kind of leniency later.
They ask you something casually that has big consequences
A police officer pulls you over for a busted taillight but then starts to feel suspicious that you could have involvement in some kind of criminal activity based on the bumper stickers on your vehicle or the music playing when you roll down your window.
They ask you several questions, possibly including whether they could look through your vehicle. They say it casually, as though it were no big deal. The idea is to get you to agree quickly because once they start searching and find something, you cannot retract your consent.
Officers don’t have to warn you that their questions or requests will affect your legal rights and won’t necessarily approach such issues with the gravity you likely feel they deserve.
They will use social pressure to their advantage
When it is windy or rainy and a police officer knocks on your door, your first impulse will probably be to invite them inside so that they don’t have to stand in the rain while you talk. However, the officer is probably counting on you being polite enough to make that mistake. Letting them in your house might mean that they find something to justify continuing the search.
A simple mistake, like letting the police go through your car, could result in your arrest for a drug offense because they found something left behind by a passenger. Knowing your rights and, police tactics can help you better manage interactions with law enforcement professionals.