When a person provides a confession while under duress, this means that the individual was forced or coerced into confessing to a crime. Centuries ago, torture was considered an acceptable way of getting a confession out of someone. While that is seen as unacceptable today, there are still many situations in which investigators try to coerce suspects into providing a confession. This is usually done through overly aggressive interrogation tactics that make the detained suspect feel that he or she has no other choice but to confess to a crime, whether or not he or she actually committed the offense. Because this is considered a violation of our civil rights, coerced confessions are usually considered inadmissible as evidence in criminal cases. If it is proven that a confession was coerced, the defendant will typically be able to get his or her criminal charges dismissed.
Here are a few examples of the many ways that confessions can be obtained through duress:
- Excessively long periods of interrogation without breaks
- Depriving the suspect of sleep, food or water until a confession is provided
- Threats of violence against the suspect if no confession is made
- Actual violence carried out against the suspect for a lack of a confession
- Other threats of harmful action to be taken against the suspect or his or her loved ones
Under circumstances like these, the individual being interrogated may say anything in order to put a stop to the abuses that are occurring or to prevent harmful action that is being threatened. If you confessed to a crime while under duress, you should immediately consult with a Lexington criminal lawyer from our law firm, the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC. We can work to gather evidence that supports your claim or duress—evidence such as video footage or audio recordings of the interrogation, witness testimony, information on previous misconduct committed by the interrogator, etc. Contact our firm so we can provide you with tough legal representation in your case!