If you have never been wrongly accused, it can be hard to believe anyone would confess to a crime he or she did not commit. However, organizations such as the Innocence Project continue to offer solid proof that false confessions are not a rare occurrence.
It is important to understand that while some people are more likely to confess falsely, anyone accused of a crime may end up admitting to it. This ranks among the top reasons for anyone charged with a crime to retain an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible, even if you think the case is going to be simple and the charges minor. Unfortunately, after your arrest, the criminal case that follows may contain numerous unpleasant surprises.
Deception by law enforcement
While physical intimidation of suspects is illegal, police officers have many other techniques at their service. Many people do not know that law enforcement officers may legally lie to suspects. They can tell you that you are not a suspect and that they just want some information. Conversely, they can tell you they have strong evidence against you and are ready to pursue extremely harsh sentences, but if you confess they will go easy on you.
Respect for authority
Another major contributing factor is most people’s respect for authority and desire to agree with police officers and gain their approval. On the other side, many people feel too intimidated to contradict an officer. This can be particularly true for young people, especially those facing charges for the first time.
In some cases, people may confess because they do not understand exactly what they are admitting to. This can happen because police officers word the statement in confusing or misleading ways. Alternatively, factors such as fatigue, intoxication or mental or physical illness can increase any potential confusion.
Once you confess to a crime, you will likely have a very hard time escaping a conviction. If you get arrested, do not offer information or agree to anything without your attorney at your side. A qualified defense attorney can guide you through this process and protect your rights.