Police Interrogation Techniques - Milwaukee Criminal Defense Lawyer

By Carlos Gamino

When police arrest someone, they typically escort the person to the police station and “book them” into jail. In some cases, police attempt to talk to a suspect and elicit a confession several times before the person is ever brought before a judge.

That’s not the case all the time. You may be arrested and police may never question you about the crime you’ve been accused of committing, or you may not be arrested but police may still question you.

So what methods do police use to question suspects?

Police Interrogation Techniques

Every investigator is different and has his or her own preferences, but these are some of the most common police interrogation techniques used in investigations today.

The Reid Interrogation Technique

The Reid technique depends on:

  • Isolation. The suspect is alone and police lead him or her to feel extremely isolated from others.
  • Maximization. The officer maximizes the crime and leads the suspect to believe the police have ample evidence to prove guilt. (This is the “bad cop” part of the interrogation.)
  • Minimization. The officer leads the suspect to believe that committing the crime was understandable. During the “good cop” part of the interrogation, the officer attempts to elicit a confession by sometimes promising lesser charges or other benefits.

Lying to Suspects

You may have heard a rumor that says police aren’t allowed to lie—but that’s just not true. Police officers can tell a suspect that they have evidence for a crime, that a co-defendant has confessed, or that a suspect will be better off confessing (that’s rarely true at all).

Informal Questioning

Any time a police officer interacts with a suspect (or anyone else, for that matter), they can informally question you. If police stop you and you don’t know why, it’s safe to assume that they suspect you’re guilty of committing a crime. Police may ask you questions, but you never have to answer. You should ask if you’re free to leave; if police say you are, leave and contact a Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer about what’s happened. If you’re not free to leave, tell police that you don’t want to answer any questions and that you’d like to talk to your lawyer.

Have Police Interrogated You?

If police have interrogated you, whether or not you were arrested, you’ll probably want to talk to a Wisconsin criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help ensure the police deal fairly with you and don’t violate your rights, as well as let you know what police may do with any information you give them.

You can always call us for case-specific legal advice at 414-383-6700 or contact us online. We’ll evaluate your case and help you figure out your next steps.

Carlos Gamino