If someone in law enforcement suspects you may have some involvement in a criminal matter, you are likely to find yourself in an interrogation room eventually. Even if you are good at answering questions, getting through a custodial interrogation can be virtually impossible. Indeed, you probably cannot beat an experienced detective.
By design, police interrogations are an unlevel playing field that favors officers over criminal suspects. Consequently, if officers place you in custody, read your Miranda rights and begin to question you, it is advisable both to remain silent and to request legal counsel.
The Reid interrogation technique
Many officers implement the Reid interrogation technique when questioning suspects. This technique, which makes you physically, emotionally and mentally uncomfortable, certainly has its problems. In fact, according to the Innocence Project, the Reid Technique can break down innocent individuals and persuade them to confess to crimes they did not commit.
Even if detectives do not use the Reid interrogation technique, they often employ tactics that are unfair to those they are questioning. For example, officers typically can lie to you about the evidence they have. These lies may include any of the following:
- Your DNA is at the crime scene
- Your fingerprints are on a weapon
- You are on videotape
- You failed a polygraph
Video and audio recordings
Moreover, detectives are likely to use video and audio technology to record the interrogation. They then can review their recordings for incriminating information. If you say something off the cuff or without thinking about the consequences of your response, detectives can still use your words against you.
Ultimately, because you cannot outsmart detectives, asserting all your legal rights continues to be the most effective way to level the playing field in the interrogation room.