In the majority of situations, speaking to law enforcement authorities without legal counsel is a mistake that can seriously jeopardize your criminal defense case. When the police have detained you, however, it’s normal to feel afraid, overwhelmed, and anxious about your freedom and your future.
When people experience the pressure cooker situation of an arrest or incarceration, they often say things they don’t mean. In some cases, police may even coerce, threaten, or intimidate an individual until he confesses to a crime he did not commit.
You Have Confessed. What Happens Now?
If you confessed to committing a crime, it’s important to understand the seriousness a confession has on your criminal defense case. The prosecution will consider this powerful evidence of your guilt.
At the same time, your case is not hopeless. The police are specifically trained in interrogation tactics designed to result in arrests and, ultimately, convictions. Although it may be hard to understand why anyone would ever confess to a crime he didn’t commit, it happens more often than you might think. According to the Innocence Project, more than one out of four individuals exonerated after a wrongful conviction actually confessed to committing the crime or made an incriminating statement to the police.
Although a confession is certainly damaging to your defense case, it does not mean you will automatically be convicted. The prosecution must still prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest legal burden of proof in our criminal justice system.
Keep Silent – It’s Your Right!
If you have already spoken to the police, you still have a constitutional right to remain silent at any time after your initial statement or confession. You can – and should – exercise your right against self-incrimination moving forward. You should also contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. In a highly stressful situation, such as a police interrogation, your lawyer can help you maintain your calm, inform you of your rights, and prevent police from compelling you to waive your important rights.
Furthermore, it’s important to discuss your case with your lawyer only. Understandably, many people wish to speak to a spouse, friends, or family members after an arrest. Although you probably want to explain the facts and your situation to your loved ones, it is important to speak only to your attorney about your case. Your lawyer can help you avoid making statements that can incriminate you.
What If I Want to Confess?
Sometimes good people get caught up in bad situations. In some cases, an individual wishes to confess to a criminal offense. For many people, a confession brings closure to an extremely stressful, confusing, and negative experience. To some, a confession is a way to “just get everything over with and move on.”
This approach may sound appealing, but it is always best to work with your lawyer before making any potentially self-incriminating statement. Furthermore, it’s important to understand that the police may promise you a “deal” or a lighter sentence in exchange for an admission of guilt, but this does not mean they must honor their promise.
If, however, a criminal defendant opts to make a formal confession through his attorney, the attorney can often work with the prosecutor to arrange a “plea bargain,” which frequently results in a more lenient sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.
Before speaking any further with the police, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can help you create a case strategy designed to reduce the charges against you and maybe even result in a dismissal.
Criminal defense lawyer Paul J. Donnelly is fighting for the right of arrested or accused people at the Law Office or Paul J. Donnelly, P.A. through the office in the Miami. Mr. Donnelly is experienced in defending those accused of breaking Florida state or federal laws. For the past 20 years Paul J Donnelly has provided his clients with the highest level of legal knowledge and professional advice while fighting for and protecting his client’s constitutional rights. He offers free consulting services for his client’s and you can contact him 24/7. He is also a member of the LawGuru Attorney Network.