It is thought that only the guilty confess to crimes, but that simply isn’t so. In fact, a staggering amount of people confess to crimes only to be completely exonerated after years of incarceration by DNA or other newfound evidence. It is for this reason that organizations like the Innocence Project exist. However, what would ever cause any person to plead guilty or confess to crimes that they did not commit?
Deception on the Part of Law Enforcement
The unfortunate reality is that it is completely legal for police to lie and use other deceptive means to make you believe that they have a solid case against you. This can be saying that someone else has implicated you or that they have solid evidence against you. Even if you were not involved, we all know the legal system has its ways of putting innocent people behind bars with only minimum effort. It is this deception that makes people feel pressured into false confessions in order to not face the maximum punishments that come with fighting it in court and being found guilty.
It Is Believed the Courts Will Be More Lenient
As mentioned above, if the police are lying and stating that they have solid evidence of an innocent person’s guilt, that person may be pressured into confessing to a crime they didn’t commit. They do this because it has been well ingrained in the public’s mind that if you confess, a judge will give you a lesser punishment than if you go through a trial. A lesser punishment should never be preferable to a not guilty verdict if you are indeed innocent. If you give a confession, you are saying you did it without a doubt and that will lower the burden of proof needed to convict you. Even if you go to court afterwards and plead not guilty, it only makes the trial more difficult.
They Just Want the Interrogation to Stop
Police interrogations are notorious for being long and unpleasant. They can go on for hours with constant pressure. They can deny you sleep and incessantly ask you the same questions over and over until you feel like you are going insane. Often it is the stress of these interrogations that cause innocent and guilty people alike to completely crack. They just want to go home and perhaps fight another day, but a confession only makes the future more difficult for you.
How to Fight False Confessions
The best way to fight a false confession is to not confess in the first place. This is why if you are arrested, the first thing you should do is contact your criminal defense attorney to represent your rights. Calling an attorney right away, even if you did commit the crime, can help prevent confessions under all the above circumstances. Your lawyer can make sure you don’t need to endure lengthy police interrogations and will make sure you continue to believe that if you are completely innocent, then there is very little evidence the police have on you, if any.
Often false confessions happen because those who were arrested don’t think they need a defense attorney. If you are innocent, this is even more likely. After all, you did nothing wrong so the police will eventually see that, but the legal system isn’t perfect and sometimes innocent people get put in prison because they failed to take the most essential precaution of getting a lawyer to represent them.
If you are in the St. Paul area and have been arrested for a crime, even if you didn’t commit it, contact us today. Rogosheske, Rogosheske, & Atkins are dedicated to representing the rights of the Minnesota public.