Admission vs. Confession: What’s the Deal?
By Dan Noll on May 26th, 2016 in Articles, Criminal Defense, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Legal professionals use both confessions and admissions in court as strong sources of evidence because the actual words of the accused usually carry weight in the jurors’ minds. Although both confessions and admissions usually occur over the course of an investigation by police, often during interrogations, the two terms don’t mean the same thing and can have different legal ramifications.
Admission: Just the Facts
Often, interrogations by police result in an admission and not a full confession. For example, a person who is suspected of car theft might say something like, “I was sitting in the car with my friends, but I had no idea it was stolen the entire time.”
This is considered an admission because the person acknowledged sitting in the car but did not say he or she stole it, knew it was stolen or took part in the theft. What you need to remember here is that an admission doesn’t include acceptance of personal responsibility for the crime. It’s just a person who is acknowledging a factual statement.
Confession: Admission of Guilt
In contrast, a person who makes a confession does accept personal responsibility for the commission of a crime. His or her statement includes all of the facts necessary for conviction of that crime, such as, “Yes, I took that car without permission while the owner was at work, but the owner owed me $5,000.” In that sentence, the person is clearly admitting he or she stole the car. Even though a reason is given, it’s not enough to sidestep a conviction for auto theft because that person needed to take the owner to civil court to legally recover that owed money.
The Bottom Line
Essentially, an admission alone just acknowledges some facts of the case, which may not be enough on its own to result in a conviction for the crime. However, it’s important to remember that an admission can still be used against you later as evidence in a criminal case, and it can’t be retracted later down the road. Once you’ve made an admission, it’s here to stay and can become part of your court case.
A confession is acceptance and acknowledgement of personal responsibility for a crime, but you can try to retract a confession later in some cases. This may happen if you were forced or coerced by law enforcement during interrogation to confess to a crime. If you gave a confession under duress, speak to criminal defense attorneys in Lincoln IL as soon as possible. A confession can and likely will be used against you in court as very strong evidence of your guilt, so it’s important to seek legal help if you gave a confession simply because you were confused or somehow forced into by law enforcement officers.