How to Prevent Being Tricked into a False Confession
Criminal confessions have always been the strongest indicator of guilt. However, once DNA started being used to prove guilt, light shone on just how common wrongful convictions and false confessions are. The Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal organization that exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA evidence, reports that 26% of wrongful convictions involved a false confession. So, what makes a person confess to a crime they did not commit, and how can you prevent being tricked into giving a false confession?
How Do Police Interrogations Encourage a False Confession?
During interrogation, the police can legally lie to suspects and make false claims to pressure people into confessing to a crime. Police officers can claim that they have evidence, such as fingerprints that link them to a crime, even if said evidence does not exist.
Many law enforcement agencies also use the Reid technique to interrogate suspects. Much of this technique involves looking for any verbal or nonverbal signs of deception from the alleged criminal. A Reid interrogation involves:
- Behavioral assessment: The law enforcement officer will ask questions, both relevant and irrelevant. As the suspect answers, the police officer will watch for any body language that points to deception, such as slouching, looking away, or crossing their arms.
- Formal interrogation: If law enforcement believes the suspect is lying, they will ramp up their questioning by repeatedly accusing them and pressuring them to provide more details.
- Sympathy: Throughout the process, the interrogator will offer sympathy and understanding to encourage a confession.
Although not all tactics used to coerce a suspect into confessing are legal, other techniques could include:
- Physical abuse
- Befriending a suspect
- Unrelenting interrogation
- Deprivation of sleep, water, or food
Dr. Saul Kassin, a Professor of Psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of CUNY, has studied this subject immensely. After conducting multiple experiments, he found that these police techniques breed false confessions. Don’t allow yourself to be interrogated without the protection of a criminal defense attorney on your side.
How You Can Prevent Being Coerced into Falsely Confessing to a Crime
When police are questioning a suspect, it is critical that they exercise their Miranda rights by refusing to answer any questions until they have had a chance to speak with a criminal defense attorney. By exercising your Miranda rights, you can discourage further interrogation and reduce the risk of providing a false confession.
Confessions can only be used as evidence if it was provided voluntarily. Therefore, if an involuntary confession has been given, a criminal defense lawyer can file a motion to prevent it from being used as evidence during the trial. If you are being charged with a crime you did not commit, make sure you hire a lawyer with the knowledge required to safeguard your rights.
Being Investigated for a Crime? Protect Yourself with a Skilled Defense Attorney in Orlando
A false confession can happen to anybody. If you are being investigated for a crime, the best way to protect yourself is to hire the criminal defense team at the Umansky Law Firm. Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys will work to protect your interests and help prevent you from being tricked into falsely confessing to a crime you did not commit. Call our office or complete our contact form to partner with a trusted defense attorney in Central Florida today.