Police officers are trained and experienced in talking to people suspected of a crime. Individuals, however, typically don't have a lot of experience in being suspected of a crime. This creates a considerable imbalance of power when police question a person. Because of this, every person has the right to not say anything to police until they speak with an attorney.
Too many people think that they will be okay talking to police alone because they have nothing to hide. People who are convinced they are not guilty of anything may feel like the easiest way to clear their name is to just talk to police. However, there are tactics and tools police use that can lead people to say something they didn't mean or admit to something they didn't do.
Keeping a person in a state of stress or anxiety can be one such tactic. According to this recent study, sleeplessness may cause a person to admit to doing something they didn't do.
In the study, two groups of people were asked to complete tasks on the computer. They were repeatedly informed that if they pressed the escape key, all the data for the researchers would be deleted.
After two sessions, one group was allowed to sleep while the other group was kept awake. The next morning all the participants were asked to admit to pressing the escape key, even though they had not. They found that roughly 50 percent of the sleep-deprived group admitted to doing it; only about 18 percent of the rested group admitted to it.
When people are fatigued, scared and confused about their options, they can make some unwise decisions in the interest of just getting out of the situation. However, these decisions can be detrimental to a person's future.
If you are asked to speak with police, especially when it is in regard to a serious crime like sexual assault or abuse, you do not have to do so alone. You have the right to consult an attorney who can help you avoid saying or doing something that could make your situation worse. Whether it's the middle of the day or the middle of the night, you have rights that must be protected.