Was Your Police Confession Coerced? - FindLaw Blotter
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Was Your Police Confession Coerced?

Was your police confession coerced? If so, you may be able to have it thrown out, regardless of the truth of your confession.

When you are arrested or interrogated, you are at a distinct disadvantage to the authorities. You may be tired, afraid, or just plain confused. You could be questioned by hardened investigators who know all the tricks to trip you up and get you to say the wrong thing.

But how do you know when police go too far?

Common Methods of Coercion

Generally, coercion involves using tactics used to force you into making a confession that you otherwise would not have made.

Coercive tactics don't have to be as blatant as engaging in torture to get you to admit to a crime. More commonly, investigators may engage in subtle forms of possible coercion that can involve one or more of the following:

  • Physical Abuse. Notice if the handcuffs are a little too tight or if you're forced down into the interrogation chair a little too roughly? These may all be subtle forms of physical abuse.

  • Threats. Police may overstate the penalties you face or simply explain what your fellow inmate will do to you if you don't confess. Other times, police may play "good cop/bad cop" and offer you hopes that are unreasonable, followed by outlandish threats.

  • Isolation. A form of psychological abuse, police may leave you alone and isolated and offer you the chance to free yourself only if you confess.

Legal Effects of Coercion

Of course, tight handcuffs, rough treatment, and isolation don't always lead to unlawfully coerced confessions. The test is whether your confession was voluntary.

If your statement or confession was not voluntary, a judge may throw out the evidence. Our justice system is based on the fact that criminal defendants have a fair trial and are innocent until proven guilty.

Authorities forcing you to say things against your will directly contradicts these tenants.

Tell Your Lawyer

If you are a victim of police coercion, you should tell your lawyer immediately. Your lawyer can help work on your defense and have any involuntary statements thrown out.

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