Can the Cops Make me Wear a Wire?

In many cases, people involved in a criminal circumstance may be used by the police to help obtain confession or evidence that will help the police to convict a criminal who is charged with a more serious crime. It is not unusual for police to arrest, for example, a low level drug dealer and offer him a deal on his own criminal charges in order to get to his boss.

Often this activity involves wearing a wire, or listening device, and recording conversations with the criminal that the police are seeking to arrest. It happens frequently, and can be a useful device for police seeking evidence on more hardened criminals.

But, in some cases, police may make defendants think that they are required to wear a wire and cooperate with the police investigation.

You Cannot Be Forced

Police cannot force you to wear a wire and help them to incriminate another suspect. However, if you are charged with a crime, and your charges may be reduced or you may be able to cut a deal, it could be to your advantage to wear the wire.

Police use many tactics to get defendants to wear wires and cooperate with their investigations. It’s important for you to know the facts before you agree to any situation that requires you to wear a wire.

  • You must consent – you cannot be forced, and if you are forced, any evidence received during your tapping may be thrown out of court as evidence against the defendant you’re recording.
  • You cannot be coerced or lied to about in order to get your consent. Police cannot legally offer you a deal to get your consent and then take the deal away after you’ve participated in a sting.

You Need a Lawyer

If you’re considering wearing a wire in order to cut a deal on your own charges, be sure you have an attorney. There are many circumstances under which police are allowed to lie to suspected perpetrators in order to get evidence or confessions. Any deal you make that requires you to wear a wire should be handled by an attorney and should be in writing. Though the law states that you cannot be coerced or promised something you don’t get, it could be hard to prove your side if police suddenly withdrew your deal after you cooperated. An attorney is critical to maintaining your rights in such circumstances.

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