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Do Juveniles Admit to Crimes They Didn’t Commit?

Juvenile False ConfessionsFalse confessions are a serious problem in our criminal justice system, particularly for young people under 18 years old. According to The Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully accused individuals, between 2.3% and 5% of individuals in prison are actually innocent of the crime they were convicted of, and one-third of those people were between 14 and 22 years old when they were arrested.1

One of the main reasons for wrongful convictions is making a false confession or incriminating statement. In fact, 1 out of every 4 people who are wrongfully convicted and later exonerated falsely confessed to a crime they did not commit.2 Falsely incriminating yourself can have devastating effects on the outcome of your case, and false confessions make up 16% of all known wrongful convictions. Studies show that the younger you are, the more likely you are to admit to a crime you are innocent of.3

Why are Juveniles More Likely to Falsely Admit to a Crime?

According to research studies, adolescents and young adults are more susceptible to making false confessions. During a police interrogation, a minor may be induced to admit to a crime that he or she did not commit as a result of:

  • Duress (being in a stressful environment)
  • Coercion (the influence of police or other intimidating authorities)
  • Intoxication
  • Diminished capacity (being unaware of what is happening)
  • Mental impairment
  • Ignorance of the law
  • Fear of violence
  • Actual infliction of harm
  • Threats of harsh sentences, or
  • Misunderstanding the situation4

If you are a young adolescent, you may be particularly vulnerable to make a false confession. As a result of inexperience and ignorance of basic rights while detained, juveniles may be more likely to be influenced by psychological interrogation techniques.5 If you have been deprived of basic rights during an interrogation (such as being refused a lawyer, a phone call, or speaking with your parent), this confession could be deemed inadmissible in court.6

In a recent study by the American Psychological Association, approximately 35% of young people were found to have falsely admitted to a crime as a result of lengthy interrogations of over two hours or peer pressure.7

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Tustin juvenile crime attorneyIf your child is taken into police custody, it is crucial to immediately hire an attorney. If your child makes an incriminating statement, he or she can be unfairly imprisoned. According to The Innocence Project, the average wrongfully convicted person is held in prison for 15 years.

We understand how stressful criminal charges can be. This is why it is extremely important to find an experienced criminal defense attorney before talking to police. If you or your child has been arrested, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing criminal charges. We are confident that we can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Our capable attorneys may be able to reduce charges to lesser offenses or even have them dismissed altogether.

We have offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville. There is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us at (888) 280-6839 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.


1. [http://www.innocenceproject.org/faqs]
2. [http://www.innocenceproject.org/causes-wrongful-conviction/false-confessions-or-admissions]
3. [http://www.nij.gov/topics/courts/indigent-defense/documents/drizin.pdf]
4. [Id.]
5. [Id.]
6. [http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-10-interrogations-false-juveniles.html]
7. [http://jjie.org/study-many-convicted-juveniles-say-they-falsely-admitted-crime/]

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About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.