Difference between Admission and Confession

Misuse is frequent in the application of the terms ‘admission’ and ‘confession’. In fiction and non-fiction publications and in common conversation, ‘admission’ is used for ‘confession’, and vice versa. From the legal perspective, these are two distinct terms and we will explore the differences between them in this article.


Admission vs Confession

In the criminal justice system, an admission is a statement of acknowledgement that certain facts regarding the specific case are true.  An admission can be either expressed via written or spoken statement, or it may also be implied by the conduct of the person under interrogation. In law practice, an admission is used as a means for discovery, as evidence or as a pleading device.

In the criminal justice system, a confession is a statement by which a person acknowledges his or her guilt. A confession is considered by law specialists to be the ultimate evidence of guilt.

In the United States, courts take into consideration possibly fallible or involuntary confessions, such as those obtained as the result of threats or psychological pressure. During the court procedure, the judge would consider the circumstances surrounding the given confession.

Comparison chart

Admission Confession
A plea of guilty shown as an admission is not conclusive A confession is an acknowledgement of guilt
Interrogations often result in admission Interrogations rarely result in confessions

Admission vs Confession

What is the difference between admission and confession?

  • An admission is a statement that has to be proven. Admissions tend toward proving guilt, but they are not sufficient for that. If during the subsequent trial there is no evidence of the crime except the given admission, a charge is likely to be dismissed by the judge. On the other hand, a confession is a statement of responsibility for committing an act of crime. A confession is sufficient for proving guilt of the suspect.
  • Admission is often a result of the interrogation. For example, if during the interrogation the suspect says: “I did not know what I was doing, and I am sorry for that,” – this statement is the admission. After the admission the interrogating official has to continue the interrogation process until the suspect accepts personal responsibility for what he did. Some suspects wouldn’t go beyond the admission, and, in this case, there is still a reasonable doubt that the person under suspicion did not commit the crime he admits he did. Confession, on the other hand, would put an end to the interrogation process and the case would go to the trial. In practice, interrogations more often result in admissions than in confessions.