If the only evidence of my committing a crimeis my statement of confession, can I be charged?

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If the only evidence of my committing a crimeis my statement of confession, can I be charged?

A police officer stopped me and my friend while walking and said they got a call about people smoking weed and since we smelled like weed they had to question us. We said we didn’t smoke but I panicked and lied about some of my information. Later I admitted to doing this and they asked me to come in to show my ID. In there they tricked me into confessing. I signed the statement and added about how I learned from it and how I’m a good person and good student. They said best case scenario is they let me go with the lesson learned. Worst is I am charged with obstruction of justice and lying.

Asked on January 30, 2011 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A confession is enough to charge someone and may be enough to convict. The issue is, is the confession persuasive or convincing enough that it would get a jury (or a judge, in a non-jury trial) to believe "beyond a reasonable doubt" that you did the crime? Clearly, a confession can do that; it depends on the circumstances and how reliable it appears. You say you were tricked, but what evidence is there of that?

You need to get a criminal defense attorney, and if you can't afford one, one must be appointed for you. An attorney can help evaluate the testimony; may be able to attack it and exclude it if it was improperly taken (e.g. you were not properly "Mirandized"); and/or will know best how to minimize it. The attorney can also try to negotiate a better plea deal on your behalf. Get an attorney right away, and don't say anything to anyone (exercise your right against self-incrimination, also known as the right to silence) until you do.


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