Challenging the voluntariness of a confession

Where a confession has been made in a criminal trial, the defense attorney may submit a motion alleging that the confession was involuntary. Following such a motion, the trial judge will hold a hearing to determine the confession's voluntariness. A Sugar Land criminal defense attorney can help prove a confession was involuntary.

In making an involuntary confession motion, the detail required depends on the type of claim made. If the basis for involuntariness is a Miranda violation, the defense will be required to submit a motion or affidavit alleging the violation of Miranda rights in procuring the confession. If making a true involuntariness claim, the defense motion must elucidate the circumstances illustrating coercion. Usually, the court will require this evidence in the form of an affidavit of an individual with personal knowledge, often the defendant.

A Sugar Land criminal defense attorney can also help with strategizing on optimal ways to claim a confession was involuntary. A regular involuntariness claim is often superior to one asserting a Miranda violation. Success with an involuntary confession claim results in the confession being barred from use for any purpose during trial. A successful Miranda claim does not offer this benefit.

For several reasons, it is preferable that this hearing takes place pre-trial. First, addressing the voluntariness of the confession may dictate the scope and duration of the later proceedings, including whether the charge is dismissed, or a plea bargain takes place. Second, the defense attorney will want to question prospective jurors about the confession during jury selection, as well as address it in opening remarks. This, obviously, cannot happen if the confession issue is not addressed until mid-trial. Third, a pre-trial hearing ensures the jury does not hear the confession. Finally, determining the voluntariness of the confession at the pre-trial stage saves all parties involved delay and inconvenience.

Should a defendant lose a pre-trial involuntariness motion, the defendant remains entitled to challenge the environment in which the confession was produced. The defense can discredit the police interview, present expert witness testimony that the defendant is unusually compliant to authority figures and susceptible to suggestions even when not true, as well as descriptive evidence of the broader history and examples of false confessions.

If you have given a false confession, contact Sugar Land criminal defense attorney John L. Venza Jr. today to ensure your rights are protected.

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