What Can You Do if Police Lie to You While Collecting Evidence?

Police lie to collect evidenceIf you’ve ever been approached by a police detective regarding a criminal investigation, be on your guard and do not trust everything you’re told. It’s been documented that detectives will sometimes lie and use deception to get the evidence they need for an investigation. A recent case that received heavy media coverage showed that Orlando detectives lied to a mother, about why they needed a sample of her DNA. The mother believed that her DNA would help detectives locate the body of a missing child; it was actually used to arrest her son. That raises the question: What can you do if the police lie to you while collecting evidence?

When are Police Allowed to Lie?

There are certainly reasons why a police detective would lie. When collecting evidence for an investigation, they often take whatever measures necessary to solve a case. The following are examples of situations when a police detective might lie to you:

Police can legally lie:

  • About having physical evidence 
  • When persuading you to surrender your DNA
  • About having eyewitnesses
  • When they say a statement is “off the record”
  • About having the confession of an accomplice
  • About what might happen to other people
  • When they say they want to help you

While police are simply trying to do their job, they often use deceptive methods when they believe a person is connected to criminal activity. 

What Can I Do If I’m Unsure Whether Police Are Lying?

The best thing to do if police are asking questions that you think are suspicious is to refuse to speak. Call a lawyer. Invoke your right to the Fifth Amendment and keep silent. If police detectives are asking you to voluntarily give a DNA sample to aid them in an investigation, you can say no. If detectives require something as evidence or proof in a criminal case, they can get a warrant. If police detectives have a search warrant, you’re legally required to comply. 

What Other Methods Will Police Use to Collect Evidence?

A recent trend in modern detective work is comparing DNA found at crime scenes to profiles on consumer genetic databases, such as FamilyTreeDNA. These genetic databases have hundreds of thousands of DNA samples that often lead detectives to a match showing a distant or close family member to the DNA found at the crime scene. Police then construct a family tree based on death records and birth certificates and narrow the names down to ages and locations. After narrowing down the suspect pool, detectives trail their suspects and wait for them to leave trash that would have traces of DNA, like a spoon or plastic water bottle. Police then test the DNA, which leads them closer to solving their case. One report described how police had used this method to find matches for more than 60 cases since 2018.

Because it’s perfectly constitutional to search through trash and police can access consumer genetic databases when solving a crime, there’s nothing illegal about this method of collecting evidence. What’s troubling is that people shed thousands of traces of their DNA every day. This method of collecting DNA brings up concerns about privacy and whether our civil liberties are being violated. Currently, no laws prohibit this type of search and seizure of DNA.  

Call Umansky if Orlando Police Approach You About an Investigation

If police detectives have approached you about providing evidence that will help them with a case, you should request a criminal attorney before doing anything they ask of you. Refuse to answer questions until you have your trusted legal counsel by your side to guide you. Anything you say can be used against you or someone close to you. 

The Umansky Law Firm is a law firm with experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys who will fight for your rights. Our legal team consists of former state prosecutors who know how to combat the tactics that the state often uses in a criminal trial. Call us at (407) 228-3838 or complete an online contact form for your free case review today. You may contact us at any time of day or night to discuss your case.