Confession Law and Legal Definition

Confession in criminal law is an admission of guilt by the accused party. It must be freely and voluntarily made after the accused is made aware of his/her rights. In determining whether the confession is voluntary, a two-prong test is used, involving subjective and objective factors much like a totality of circumstances test. One part of the test focuses upon the susceptibility of the suspect, and the other part of the test focuses upon the environment & methods used. Generally, a confession that is shown to be coerced does not void a conviction as long as it is supported by independent evidence.

On June 13, 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court, in deciding the case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), granted Miranda a new trial at which his confession could not be admitted as evidence, and established the "Miranda" rights of persons accused of crimes.