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Confessions: The Totality of the Circumstances and Coercion

Prior to Miranda v. Arizona, in order to determine whether or not a confession was coerced such that it would be considered to have been given involuntary in violation of the 14thAmendment Due Process Clause, the courts would look at the totality of the circumstances. However, it should be noted that today, confessions are rarely deemed to be involuntary if the law enforcement officers involved conformed to the requirements of the Miranda case. Still, any Irvine criminal attorney will tell you that Miranda did not supersede the laws that bar involuntary confessions.

One of the purposes of the Miranda warnings was to inhibit the use of high-pressure tactics when obtaining a confession. The U.S. Constitution not only prohibits the use of bodily torture, but it also prohibits the use of more subtle mind-related tactics as a way of evoking a defendant’s confession against his or her will.

There are a number of factors that need to be considered when determining whether or not a confession was given voluntarily. The court is required to evaluate the totality of all circumstances, including both the defendant’s characteristics and the particulars of the interrogation. More specifically, if you have hired a skilled Irvine criminal attorney, he or she will tell you that some of the factors that will be taken into account in your case will be your age, education level, your mental and emotional stability, the length of your detention, the use of physical punishment (such as food or sleep deprivation), and the use of threats by law enforcement, among others.

If you need a skilled Irvine criminal attorney, please call Staycie Sena at (949) 477-8088  for a free consultation.

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