When you're charged with a criminal offense, it can feel like your whole world is upside down. There are so many technical and legal procedures to remember in all types of criminal charges, and it can be difficult to explore and make decisions about criminal defense options. The fact that there are so many misconceptions about criminal cases just clouds the decision-making process even more. To clear things up, here are some common myths about criminal law you should know.
- Myth: If you aren't read your rights when being arrested, the case is automatically dismissed.
This is one of the biggest myths surrounding criminal cases, but it's entirely false. Law enforcement officials are not required to read your Miranda rights upon immediate arrest. Rather, the police may recite you your rights when you are already in custody, and often before interrogation.
- Myth: Your lawyer doesn't care about you.
Many people assume that if your lawyer believes you're guilty, they may actually work against you. This could not be further from the truth. Lawyers, whether employed by the state or a private criminal defense law firm, have a moral and legal obligation to tenaciously advocate for their clients. Some may not be quite as experienced as others, but all will fight in favor of their clients.
- Myth: If you don't testify, everybody will think you're guilty.
This myth is understandable, but it's still false. The fact is, in addition to protecting against double jeopardy, the Fifth Amendment also protects against self-incrimination -- the right to remain silent. This means that staying silent can never be held against you, and in fact, it's actually recommended in most cases to avoid the possibility of incriminating yourself. You can rest assured that if you don't testify as a defendant in a criminal case, the jury will be instructed not to take your decision into consideration when deliberating.