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A Criminal Attorney in Baltimore can Protect you When it is Time to Confess

In the US criminal law system, an accused party admits guilt by confession. Confessions should be voluntary (given of the suspect’s free will), and are inadmissible if gained through intimidation, coercion or threat. Below, the office of Attorney David E. Fink will discuss confessions and their role in criminal cases.

How do Courts Prove the Voluntary Nature of a Confession?

Depending on local law, a court may use certain standards to determine whether a confession is given voluntarily. For instance, some laws require a preponderance of the evidence; that is, the evidence must demonstrate that the statements are voluntarily given. In some areas, the higher “reasonable doubt” standard of proof is used.

In most cases, confessions are proven voluntary if they reflect a deliberate choice and are given of the suspect’s free will. The definition of “free will” is at the discretion of the local jurisdiction, and depends on the facts of the individual case.

What Happens if the Confession Isn’t Voluntary?

An involuntary confession is inadmissible in court. If the confession was gained through the use of threats, force or intimidation, it can’t be used at trial. Confessions already used in court can result in an overturned conviction, but that result is not guaranteed. Convictions can still stand if supported by eyewitness testimony and other evidence.

Having a Lawyer Present During Questioning

To avoid being coerced into giving a confession, you should hire a Criminal Attorney Baltimore to represent you during interrogations. Under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, you have the right to legal counsel at that time, and if charges have already been filed, the Sixth Amendment guarantees your right to a lawyer during subsequent questioning sessions.

Being accused of a crime is a frightening and sometimes overwhelming experience, and you should not try to represent yourself at such a time. Having a lawyer present can ensure the voluntary nature of your confessions and statements. If you stand accused of a criminal act, your Criminal Attorney Baltimore can help you respond to police questions and they can answer any questions you may have during the interrogation process.