Protecting Your Rights, Defending Your Future

Police instinct or junk science?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2021 | Criminal defense | 0 comments

Facing police questioning is stressful. Whether you are guilty or not, you may face the temptation to give the officers some information with the hope they will release you.

The officer, convinced you are lying, may try to pressure you into giving them more information. You may remember that you should politely refuse to answer so you can speak with an attorney. However, a police officer might still try to persuade you to talk about what happened.

Here’s what you should know about the theories behind the officer’s perception that you are not telling the truth.

Relying on the subconscious and nonverbal leakage

Over the years, officers have learned various ways to talk to suspects and determine whether they have credible information. While many cops have moved away from aggressive tactics, such as the Reid technique, many officers still use methods that are no longer scientifically sound.

Many officers go through training to learn to build subconscious observational skills while watching for “nonverbal leakage.” In short, they try to establish a baseline for nonverbal cues, like eye twitches and other subtle facial expressions, to determine whether you are telling the truth on more substantial questions.

As unreliable as it sounds

Claiming to read subtle facial expressions with any degree of reliability seems like it would make better fiction than fact. However, officers are still trying to watch for small signals that you are not telling the truth.

Unfortunately, the well-known phrase from the Miranda warning, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law,” is all too accurate when it comes to what you tell an officer.

When you face arrest or a police confrontation, it is essential to be polite and cooperative while still advocating for your rights. When an officer starts asking questions, ask if you are under arrest. If you are, inform the officer that you will remain silent until you can talk to a lawyer.

It is essential to invoke your rights as soon as possible. While answering one or two questions may seem inconsequential, it could significantly affect building your defense.