Many people take the position that if they are innocent, they have nothing to hide from the police. But this approach is dangerous because it invites police scrutiny into your life. The police officer may truly be interested in finding the truth but he or she may also be more interested in confirming a theory or allegation. Regardless, you don’t want to put your fate in the hands of someone who “might” be on your side.
There are no comprehensive studies on how many innocent people plead guilty but it happens. The longer you spend with the police, the more likely you will falsely admit to a crime. In fact, of the people actually exonerated, 42 percent of false confessions were given by underage suspects. Moreover, 43 percent were either mentally disabled or sick at the time.
These statistics illustrate that police tactics tend to take advantage of those people who are the least prepared to confront them. In fact, police interrogation is often more effective on innocent people because they presume that “truth and justice” will win out. Don’t become one of those statistics, exercise your right to remain silent and request a defense attorney.
If you were arrested, then you may want to speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Even if you believe the arrest was a mistake or the charges overblown, do not speak to a police officer until after you sit down with a lawyer. As you can see above, tricked or false confessions occur all the time. It is very difficult to keep your facts and recollection accurate, especially under the stress of police questioning. A lawyer can help ensure that you present a strong defense to protect your rights.
Source: LA Times, “Innocent? Don’t talk to the police,” James Duane, August 26, 2016