What does the Bible say about confessing to a crime if confessing will destroy your family and friends? Confess and be damned, or spare the hurt and pain it will cause?

First off, while the Bible does call us to confess our sins, it does not speak directly and specifically to confessing to a crime. As usual in such cases, we are forced to make the best decision we can using the Bible's principles, as well as advice from godly men and women. Unfortunately, this issue is not quite as black and white as we might like it to be.

On the one hand, I think it is easy to justify not confessing (pride, vanity, fear) by telling ourselves we want to spare others.

On the other hand, we need to factor in love. For example, would confessing to the crime have adverse effects on someone else (e.g., shame someone else, endanger someone's life)? The nature of the crime is a factor, and the possible consequences of confessing to it should be thoroughly thought through.

I think I would generally lean toward love and mercy and away from law/legalism (John 8:1-11). After all, erring on the side of love/mercy would seem to have fewer possible negative repercussions than erring on the side of law/legalism. Ultimately, though, I believe the one who has committed the crime should seek the advice of local, mature Christians -- preferably who know him/her-- to weigh the possible outcomes of confessing, and then make a decision that factors righteousness and love equally.