Thanks in part to popular podcasts and television series, people are becoming more familiar with the concept of false confessions. Unfortunately, false confessions are a reality in the criminal justice system and can lead to innocent people being convicted and incarcerated. According to the Innocence Project, 32% of people exonerated by DNA evidence made false confessions. In most cases, false confessions result from unfair police interrogation tactics.

While having a criminal defense attorney present during any police questioning is crucial, remember you still have rights even if you confessed to something that you didn’t do. Fienman Defense will fight to have your false confession thrown out and obtain a fair outcome.

Don’t let unfair police interrogation tactics ruin your future. Call (215) 839-9529 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options.

Law Enforcement Intimidation

Many false confessions result from pure intimidation. While physical abuse during the interrogation process may not be as common as it once was, police officers still routinely intimidate suspects, coercing them into confessing to crimes they didn’t necessarily commit.

Intimidation can be expressed or implied, and it can involve physical threats or threats concerning your livelihood, reputation, or anything that can result in physical, financial, emotional, or psychological harm. Suspects are often isolated, held in dingy holding rooms, and told that that the only way to end the interview is to agree with their claims.

Common Deceptive Practices

Contrary to popular myth, the police can lie to you about your case. It is widely believed that by misrepresenting the evidence they have, the police are more likely to get a voluntary and truthful confession. Here are some common misrepresentations that the police may tell you during questioning:

  • Stating that they know you committed the crime
  • Stating that they have evidence that proves you committed the crime
  • Stating that they have a witness that saw you committing the crime
  • Stating that another suspect has already implicated you in the crime

However, these statements, when combined with other tactics or factors, can confuse people, make them feel overwhelmed, and possibly end with a false confession.

Fear of a Harsher Punishment

When you’re in custody, the police will almost certainly claim that your punishment will be lighter if you cooperate or even that your charges will be dismissed. Conversely, the police may also threaten you with more serious criminal charges, harsh prosecution, and the harshest penalties possible if you don’t cooperate. It doesn’t matter whether they can actually charge you with more serious crimes or if you would even qualify for the harshest sentence. The point is to get you to make a quick confession so that they can convict you.

Taking Advantage of Your Mental State

Police officers want results, and they want them fast. Since they are not overly concerned with protecting your rights, they will use any advantage they can find to get a confession. This often involves exploiting a suspect’s weakened mind and inexperience with law enforcement.

The police often take advantage of suspects in the following situations:

  • Suspects who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Suspects who are suffering from exhaustion or extreme sleep deprivation
  • Suspects with mental disabilities or limited education
  • Young suspects who are inclined to trust law enforcement officers

When people can’t think clearly, they often don’t understand the implications of their decisions. The police will intentionally try to wear you down by holding you for hours, questioning you repeated, and denying you food, water, and sleep.

How to Protect Yourself

Being arrested can be overwhelming and intimidating, but it’s important to remember that you have rights. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from unfair police interrogation tactics that can lead to a false confession:

Be skeptical

Don’t trust anything the police tell you. No matter how much it might seem like it, they are not on your side and only want you to confess to make their job easier.

Be patient

You may be held for hours and questioned repeatedly. This is to wear you down, making you more susceptible to making a false confession.

You have the right to remain silent

You are not legally obligated to answer their questions. Remember that anything you say can be used against you, even if it is was based on lies told to you by the police.

You have the right to counsel

If you have requested an attorney. If requested, the police cannot question you without your lawyer present. This is one of the most powerful rights that you have. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is one of the best ways to protect yourself.

Fienman Defense Can Help

If you’ve been asked to come in for police questioning regarding a crime or have confessed to a crime you didn’t commit, don’t lose hope. Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Michael Fienman can protect you, explain the implications of making a statement, and if necessary, help determine if the police unfairly interrogated you.

Don’t let the prosecution use a false confession against you. Contact Fienman Defense to learn how we can help you. Call us today at (215) 839-9529 to schedule your free consultation.

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