Common Myths and Misconceptions About the Criminal Justice System
Understanding the myths and misconceptions that surround the criminal justice system can make it seem less scary if you are charged with a criminal offense that requires a criminal lawyer to work through. That way, you’re aware of what is truth and what is not the truth, and this can put your mind at ease.
Police Must Identify Themselves
The first myth is that police must identify themselves if they are asked whether they are law enforcement or not. If this was true, sting operations and undercover officers would be absolutely illegal, because their evidence that’s collected during those operations would be useless for use in the court system—easily put, the police wouldn’t bother doing stings or undercover ops.
This myth stems from entrapment. Entrapment is a defense that criminal defense attorneys can use, if they can find a way to use it in criminal cases. Entrapment is based on the interaction between a police officer and a defendant prior or during the crime. If an officer uses coercion or other tactics that are considered overbearing to induce someone to commit a crime, it is entrapment and the case is harder to try.
Pinning entrapment to a criminal case is harder than it looks, because simply offering the opportunity to be a criminal is not the basis of a criminal entrapment case.
One Phone Call
The one phone call is not constitutionally protected right after an arrest! That’s strange, right? Well, it’s the truth. It’s a useful plot element in movies to up the suspense, but in real life it doesn’t work like that. This plot element is often used to explain to audiences that when you are arrested, it is a minefield and your rights may vary depending on who is guarding your cell, who you interact with, and where you’re arrested at. It can even be affected by what you’re doing!
But the reality is, the number of phone calls you make varies. From zero to as many as you want. The sixth amendment says you are entitled to legal counsel and a Supreme Court ruling, Brewer v Williams, you are entitled to your counsel “at or after the time that judicial proceedings have been initiated… whether by formal charge, preliminary hearing, indictment, information, or arraignment.”
If My Miranda Rights Aren’t Read, My Case Doesn’t Exist!
This, my friend is not something you want to base an entire defense around, and no criminal defense attorney worth their salt is going to base a whole defense solely around this. There will be other infractions that may further dismiss your case than your Miranda Rights not being read. Miranda Rights are only applied after you are taken into custody, and are questioned by the police! This means, if you’re on your way to the jailhouse and you chat with your officer, it does not come down to “my rights were not read to me”, but rather: you were not being questioned by the police.
Reach out to a good criminal lawyer for your defense, such as the ones at The Morales Law Firm! They know what they’re doing, and you’ll want someone on your side with an inkling of how the law actually works.