Tactics Police Often Use to Obtain a Confession or to Cause a Suspect to Incriminate Themselves

Treadaway & Treadaway June 3, 2019

Law enforcement officers often use age-old tactics to promulgate confessions and, sometimes, those confessions are false. Sometimes, DNA or other evidence exonerates people who have falsely confessed or who have been coerced or tricked into confessing, but the process is tedious and lengthy. A false confession could also mar your record, even though the charges are later dropped.

You have every right to not incriminate yourself. Regardless of what tactics the police use to obtain a confession from you, you should never answer any questions or make any statements without an attorney present.

The Reid Technique

In short, this technique, developed in the 1940s, involves isolation and good cop / bad cop routines. The police will often place a suspect in an interrogation room and begin the questioning. The first police officer may seem aggressive and will try to get the suspect to answer questions. That officer will then leave the suspect alone, and a different officer will enter the interrogation room. The second officer will act friendly and try to “be a friend” in order to get the suspect to confess outright or to say something incriminating.


There is no law that says a police officer has to tell the truth during an interrogation. Often, an officer will tell a suspect that the police have evidence that inculpates the suspect, or may say that a co-defendant confessed to the crime, including the suspect’s part in it. The police cannot threaten a suspect by saying that without a confession, the suspect will be held indefinitely. The police also cannot promise to lower the charges upon a confession. ALWAYS ask for your attorney, no matter what the police officer tells you.

Contact a Georgia Criminal Law Attorney

If you have been arrested, always ask for your attorney. The police may use other tactics to get you to confess including intimidation and trying to go through the facts of the case with you in the hopes that you will slip and say something that will make you seem guilty even if you are innocent. Never give the police any information other than your name and contact information until your attorney arrives and you’ve had a chance to speak to your attorney in private.