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False confessions are a serious problem for younger people

When the police identify someone as a suspect for a crime, they often bring that person in for questioning. The resulting interrogation can either lead to the suspect being let go and no longer pursued; or the suspect may remain a target for the police, and he or she may eventually be arrested. There are a lot of steps that need to be taken to result in an arrest, and the interrogation is just one of them. But it is a whirlwind of a step, one that can result in a defendant saying the wrong thing, or the police doing the wrong thing.

For these reasons, it is imperative that any accused person contact an attorney so that they have an experienced legal representative with them to uphold their rights. Without a criminal defense attorney, an accused person could inadvertently infringe his or her own rights, or reveal information that he or she has no legal obligation to reveal.

Along these lines is the false confession. A false confession occurs when a suspect confesses to a crime that he or she did not commit. The false confession could happen for a number of reasons, with police pressure and a misplaced feeling of guilt as two of the primary causes. But no matter the case, a false confession can result in the criminal charges against a person being dropped.

Younger people are more susceptible to false confessions for a number of reasons. They don't know the law; they don't have as much life experience; and they are more prone to believing their superiors than other people. So, for juveniles, the need for appropriate legal advice is even more important.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "False Confessions Dog Teens," Zusha Elinson, Sept. 8, 2013

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