According to a study produced by the Innocence Project, a multinational legal non-profit group, up to one quarter of all people falsely convicted and eventually exonerated of a crime had originally confessed to committing the crime. False confessions are clearly more common than many people think, and they can cause serious legal problems for defendants who make the mistake of making one.
When a defendant is facing a tough interrogation by the police and isn’t sure what to do next, they may panic and unwittingly confess to a crime they don’t actually believe they’ve committed. A person may falsely confess under the following conditions:
- Questioned without being properly given a reading of the Miranda rights.
- Physical or mental intimidation from the police.
- Threats or actual violence from the police.
- Illegal arrest and detainment from the police.
In these situations, a person may give a false confession of crimes that can be extremely incriminating and possibly cause them to be convicted and imprisoned.