Admissibility of a Confession
JUST BECAUSE YOU MAKE A STATEMENT TO A POLICE OFFICER, DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT CAN AUTOMATICALLY BE USED AGAINST YOU IN COURT
Many times, a confession is made to a police officer before the speaker has the chance to think about the impact of the statement. It is important to know that even if you make a voluntary confession to a police officer, this does not mean that the confession can automatically be used against you in a court of law. There are a myriad of reasons why a confession can be suppressed and excluded from evidence.
The test for whether a confession is voluntary is whether the defendant had the sufficient mental capacity at the time of giving his statement to know what he was saying and to have voluntarily intended to say it.
There have been many instances where the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has thrown out a confession and held that the statement cannot be used against a Defendant. Examples of facts that have led courts to throw out confessions include: the Defendant was drinking alcohol prior to make a statement, the Defendant was suffering from withdrawal symptoms at the time of making the statement, and Defendant was in a weakened condition after surgery at the time of making the statement. These courts have held that a Defendant’s constitutional rights prohibits the use of an incriminating statement unless it is first established that those statements were product of rational intellect and a free will.
If you or someone you know has made a confession to a police officer, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Justin J. Ketchel, LLC can determine if the procedures for taking a confession were properly followed, and whether that confession can be excluded from the case. If you would like to speak to one of our experienced attorneys, you may contact us at 412-456-1221 for a free case evaluation.