What happens if you committed a crime, only to later admit to it? Is the confession enough to land you in prison? As it stands, no – a confession just standing alone isn’t enough for a conviction due to the fact that false confessions happen all too often. According to a term known as “Corpus delicti,” there must be some kind of evidence apart from just a statement from the defendant for the confession to hold up. It may seem like protection to a criminal defendant, but it goes beyond that. Any evidence that shows somebody committed the crime will be enough as proof, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the defendant had to be the one proven to have committed it. In other states, it is taken into account whether or not the confession was trustworthy or reliable.
To make more sense of things, take an example: Somebody walks into a police station and says that they need to give a statement on a robbery. They go on to explain that they just robbed someone at gunpoint and stole their purse. However, the person does not identify the person they robbed or tell the police where the gun is. The person does not have a purse in their possession, either. The police cannot follow up on this crime because they have no evidence to go off of. Therefore, this person cannot be convicted of robbery.
Voluntary Confession or Not?
Some jurisdictions require that the confession somebody gives be voluntary; this means that the given evidence must show that the statement was likely voluntary and not forced. A “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard is typically used. A confession is found to be voluntary if it is the product of a “free and unconstrained will” and will depend largely on the facts presented in the case. If it is found to be involuntary, the confession cannot be admitted to the court as evidence. This typically occurs in a case where the confession was obtained by intimidating, threatening, or using violent force against a witness.
What Happens if a Cop is Lying?
Sometimes a police report will include statements that, according to both defendant and witness, were not entirely accurate. A trial lawyer will look into ways to prove the falseness of the statement at hand and give the cop many chances to provide inconsistent statements that just don’t seem to add up. This will show that the statement provided in the police report is only an interpretation of what you said and not the actual statement.
If there is an interrogation involved with your case, you would probably want an attorney present. This is to protect you and to help you avoid being subject to an involuntary confession possibly against your will. If charges have been filed against you, the 6th Amendment actually protects you by guaranteeing your right to an attorney during post-charge interrogations. Having an attorney by your side can help you understand what is being said to you and ensure that your statements and confessions are made voluntarily. You can contact the Blair Law Firm for more information about your case and where to turn!