Most people are familiar with the phrase “you have the right to remain silent.” Unfortunately, not everyone arrested for a crime is aware of their right against self-incrimination, and even if they are, they may not be able to handle the pressure of police interrogation and confess anyway. Preventing a false confession is one reason to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
False confessions can ruin the lives of people. It can take a lot of time and money to overturn a conviction based on a false confession, and there are people who never receive vindication. If they had an attorney to assist them, they might have learned they did not have to confess to anything.
Why do false confessions happen?
It seems strange that an innocent person would admit to committing a crime, but as the Innocence Project explains, sitting in an interrogation room with police officers can frighten some people into confessing. Individuals under arrest may confess to get a light punishment, fearing they will receive a harsher one if convicted. In some cases, law enforcement will use deceptive means like misrepresenting evidence to get a confession.
In many instances people admit to crime just because they do not know any better. Diminished mental abilities or a lack of education can sometimes be a factor. However, many people simply cannot think clearly because of exhaustion, hunger or the stress of the situation.
Having an attorney present
An officer must provide a Miranda warning before conducting an interrogation. At this time, the person under arrest may remain silent and not answer questions, stopping an interrogation from going forward. People in this situation may also request to speak to an attorney.
In the event a person does choose to answer police questions, the individual has the right to have legal counsel present at the questioning. A defense attorney is far more likely to have a cooler head than a person under the stress of police questioning and will be ready to assist a client with legal advice when needed.