Confession, in law, an oral or written admission of guilt made by a person who is accused of a crime. In the United States, a confession cannot be used as evidence in a trial if before interrogation the accused was not informed of his or her right to have counsel present. In the past, defendants often claimed in court that their confessions had been obtained by third degree (mental or physical abuse) or by trickery.
A confession in court usually takes the form of a plea of guilty. When the accused pleads not guilty, a previously made confession introduced at the trial must be supported with other evidence in order for the accused to be convicted.
Until modern times, confessions obtained by torture were accepted as valid in court. In totalitarian countries, political prisoners may still make so-called confessions induced by force, threats, or psychological conditioning called "brainwashing."