3 Ways to Get Your Confession Tossed in a Florida Criminal Case
When you have been subjected to hours of grueling interrogation, faced probing questions, and raked over the coals by Florida law enforcement, there may come a point where you think a confession is your best option for ending the agony. Many other individuals have been in your position and done exactly what you are considering. However, perhaps like you, a great number of these people only admitted to committing the crime after incessant badgering by police officers. According to the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to preventing wrongful convictions, almost 30 percent of people who falsely confessed were later exonerated by DNA. In murder cases, false confessions were obtained in 62 percent of cases.
A confession seems like a solid, credible piece of evidence, so you are right to be concerned if you admitted to committing a crime. However, there are situations where a false confession can be tossed out of court. A criminal defense attorney can explain the details and handle the legal process, but you should note the following rules on retracting a confession.
- Confessions Obtained Through Coercion: It is unlawful for police to get an admission through trickery, intimidation, force, or similar misconduct. A confession obtained through these methods is inadmissible in court as a violation of your civil rights.
- Unlawful Questioning by Police: Officers are required to read your “Miranda” rights – the familiar recitation about remaining silent, retaining a lawyer, and being able to use your statements against you in court. The key issue is whether you are under arrest or otherwise in custody, i.e., not free to end the police encounter. If you cannot leave and make an admission without being read your Miranda rights, your confession should be tossed.
- Privileged Statements: Florida law recognizes that communications between individuals having certain relationships should be open and honest, so it protects conversations involving:
- Patients and their doctors;
- Individuals and religious leaders; and,
- Lawyers and clients.
Some acts may constitute a waiver of the privilege, but – as long as you keep the information private – statements you make under these circumstances cannot be used in court. Essentially, the person you confess to cannot turn you in to police, subject to some exceptions.
- Common Law Corpus Delicti Rule: Though it rarely comes up, this legal concept could result in a confession being tossed. The corpus delicti rules states that a confession to a crime is not sufficient evidence of a crime where there is no other direct or circumstantial proof. Therefore, the prosecutor is required to prove corpus delicti separately from the confession before it can be admissible in court.
Trust a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
If one of these strategies results in your false confession being tossed, a prosecutor could still move forward with the charges against you. However, in some cases, excluding the confession leaves the prosecution’s case-in-chief weakened – which may lead to a dismissal or acquittal in court. For more information on the impact of confessions, please contact Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Kevin J. Kulik to set up a consultation at our office.