As children turn into teenagers and young adults, it can be increasingly difficult for parents to insulate them against the dangers of the world.
The best you can do is make sure that you give your teen all of the information they need to be savvy and smart in any given situation – including ones you’d rather not think about, like if they’re ever arrested or interrogated by the police. Here are the three main things they need to know:
1. The police can (and probably will) lie to you
The police are supposed to uphold law and order, so it makes sense to most people that they have to always be forthright and fair in their dealings with suspects – but they don’t. The police are allowed to use deceptive “techniques” during interrogations like:
- Falsely telling you that another person involved in the crime has confessed and named you as their accomplice
- Lying about the evidence they have, such as claiming that your genetic material or fingerprints were found at the scene of a crime or you were identified by an eyewitness
- Making false promises that make it seem like they’re sympathetic or friendly to you, such as saying that your cooperation and confession will encourage the prosecutor to “go easy” on you
These kinds of tactics commonly increase the pressure on suspects to confess – and some do even when they’re innocent.
2. You cannot lie to the police in return
Your sense of “fair play” may tell you that if the police can lie to you, you should be able to lie to them, right? Wrong. Lying to the police during an investigation can result in charges of obstruction of justice – even if you’re determined to be innocent of all other offenses.
3. You have an absolute right to remain silent
You can’t lie, but the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does give you the right to against self-incrimination. To use it, tell the investigator or officer that you are invoking your right to remain silent and then stop talking – and don’t start talking again until you have experienced legal guidance.