As you may know, the U.S. Constitution explicitly states that citizens should not be compelled to testify against themselves when charged with a crime. And yet, false and coerced confessions remain an ongoing problem in the criminal justice system.
Studies show that juvenile suspects are more likely than older counterparts to confess to crime falsely. This can likely be attributed to the fact that some of the interrogation techniques commonly used by police departments to acquire confessions from adult suspects may be inappropriate for juveniles. Some officers may also be inclined to push the boundaries of a teen’s vulnerability, leading to their self-incrimination.
What causes false confessions?
Coerced confessions are involuntary confessions that often result from relentless and overzealous law enforcement conduct that overshadows a suspect’s free will. These confessions are involuntary because the teenager in question didn’t make the admission freely by choice but rather due to duress.
Luckily, a due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment requires confessions that have been established to be coerced and false to be excluded from trial evidence.
Why confessions are so crucial
Did you know that a confession can be the only piece of evidence law enforcement needs to charge your teen with a drug crime? Thankfully, federal law gives every citizen the right not to incriminate themselves; therefore, a false or coerced confession shouldn’t be admissible as evidence.
That said, it’s crucial to acknowledge that giving such a confession can put your teenager’s constitutional rights in danger. Innocent teenagers have been convicted based on bogus confessions in the past, and this could happen to your teen if you don’t take prompt action.
If you’re a parent to a teenager, you should be aware of the trouble they may get into with the criminal justice system. This way, you can shield them from false confessions and other issues that may rob them of their bright future. Consulting a legal team as soon as your teenager encounters law enforcement can help protect their constitutional rights.