The short answer is that yes, military investigators and police can lie to you. Many people operate under the false assumption that if they are questioned by a military investigator that the investigator has to tell you the truth, however that is not the case. Police and military investigators can lie to you. Not only are they allowed to do this, they often will intentionally mislead you to see how you respond or to get information out of you. If NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service), CID (Criminal Investigative Service) or OSI (Office of Special Investigation) calls you in and you voluntarily decide to speak with them (which is not always the best choice) you had better not lie to them – because that will likely be used against you later when they prosecute you. But you can be fairly certain that they will lie to you.
“We have an eye witness.”
“Two people saw your car there.”
“We have your fingerprints and DNA.”
Military investigators and law enforcement have an obligation to inform you if you are a suspect in a criminal investigation, but after that, they are trained to get you to talk, they do this in many ways. Scientific studies have shown that the longer you talk, the more likely you are to confess or at least give them information they can use against you later. Investigators use specific techniques designed to garner confessions. One of the most popular (and controversial) techniques used by military investigators is the Reid Technique.
Proponents of the Reid Technique claim that it improves confession rates, critics agree but cite to the high likelihood of false confessions acquired through this technique – often because police and investigators can lie to you, which promotes false confessions.
After a very long and friendly “chat” with investigators you will be read your rights under Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (your right against compulsory self-incrimination). From then on, the investigators will want you to talk, say anything at all, hoping to trip you up. One very effective way to do this is to ask questions with no correct (non-incriminating) answer:
“You didn't actually want to hurt her, you just weren't being careful, right?”
They are always trying to give you an out that isn't really an out. Another common technique an investigator will use is to try and minimize the alleged crime so that you will admit to it when it doesn't sound so bad. Just like you see on television, the law enforcement officers will act like they already have all the information and proof they need, and they just want to hear your side of the story. Nothing could be further from the truth. The biggest lie they tell you:
“This is your chance to clear this up, we can't help you if you don't talk to us”
You can't talk your way out of an interrogation that is set up to trap you, whether you are innocent or not. Most of the time, investigators are convinced that you committed the crime they are investigating, and they will not stop questioning you until you ask for a lawyer or refuse to answer any more questions. You should always do both—refuse to answer questions and invoke your right to counsel. Then, do your homework and hire an experienced attorney to get you through this. The attorneys at Patriots Law Group are experienced in military criminal defense and civilian criminal defense.
DISCLAIMER: The information above is for general informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created by this information. Each individual situation is different and therefore a formal in-person consultation is necessary before any specific advice may be relied upon as appropriate and accurate for a given situation. Please call Patriots Law Group at 301-952-9000 to set up a consultation if you wish to obtain specific legal advice you may rely upon. We serve clients anywhere in the world, with in-person consultations available at our Suitland, MD office — right next to Andrews Air Force Base — for clients in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.