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Getting mad when you are arrested can make you seem guilty

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

If a police officer arrests you, you may be tempted to fume, mouth off and be argumentative because you know you are innocent. Although that reaction is very human, it’s not an approach that will help you. 

In fact, it could go strongly against you. According to research done by a Harvard Business School (HBS) professor and her colleagues, throwing a raging fit can make a blameless person “come across as guilty even when they are not.” That is exactly what you do not want to do. 

Some people assume a person’s anger points to their guilt

The studies done by the HBS researchers came to an interesting conclusion – namely, that  individuals who get hot under the collar even though they are innocent tend to appear “untrustworthy and less authentic.” The experiments the team conducted confirmed that finding. 

They showed that even acting slightly irate tipped the scale in favor of you looking guilty, at least in some people’s opinion. Ironically, what made people the angriest was being accused of something they did not do. 

Rein in your emotions when you’re arrested

You may get pulled over for speeding by a police officer and they say you were going over the speed limit when you are sure you did not. In that case, it’s hard to resist being furious. 

Keep in mind that your angry attitude will only get you in deeper, not convince the officer that they made an error. As the HBS investigators noticed, anger just makes people more suspicious of you.

Under perfect circumstances, people would make judgments solely on facts 

We know that people don’t rely only on facts and evidence. They instantly draw conclusions based on your body language, how you are dressed and your demeanor. Their conclusions may be incorrect, but everything about you inevitably creates an impression. This is true in social interactions, job interviews and encounters with police. 

If you’ve been unfairly accused of a crime, let your defense do all your talking. That’s the best way to protect your interests.