What Makes for an Unlawful Interrogation?
The interrogation scene is often the climax of any good police drama or movie. Usually set in a dimly lit room that is sparsely furnished with a table and a few chairs, two cops (invariably one of them is the “good cop” trying to help the cuffed suspect and the other is the “bad cop”) working to wear down the defenses of the suspect until the suspect cannot take any more of the interrogation and confesses to the crime.
For those who have actually been interrogated by police, however, the experience is anything but entertaining. A police interrogation can last for hours and there are plenty of tactics the police can use to attempt to coerce you into giving a confession – including lying to you about the evidence they have in their possession and/or the statements made by other witnesses. That being said, however, there are a few things the police cannot do during an interrogation.
Prohibited Behavior During Police Interrogations
When you are being interrogated by the police – that is, you have been placed under arrest and you are being questioned in connection with a crime – the police are not permitted to:
- Continue questioning you after you have requested an attorney: If you have asked to speak with an attorney before answering any police questions, then any interrogation must stop until you have had a chance to speak with legal counsel and, upon doing so, indicated to police you are ready to resume answering questions. If police continue to ask you questions, then any answers you give may not be able to be used against you.
- Continue questioning for a prolonged period: What exactly constitutes a “prolonged period” will depend on all of the attendant facts and circumstances; however, keeping you secluded in an interrogation room for many hours without a break or an end to questioning may be considered unduly coercive.
- Deny you necessities like food, water, or medical care: The police do not have an obligation to make sure you are comfortable before interrogating you. In other words, you are not entitled to a full meal and shower before police question you. However, if the police know or have reason to know you may be too hungry or thirsty to think clearly, or that you are in need of medical attention for an injury, they risk having any confession you may give thrown out of court if they fail to address these needs.
How Your Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You
If you confessed after being interrogated by police, do not accept a plea agreement or continue with your case without first speaking with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer from Roman & Roman. Our criminal defense team is well-versed in the law pertaining to interrogations and we will fight hard to prevent any unlawful or unduly coercive confession from being used against you. Contact Roman & Roman in Clearwater right away to review your case with us: call 877-767-1032 or reach out to us through our website.