Thousands of people are arrested for misdemeanors and felonies every day, yet there is still plenty of misinformation about the criminal justice system. If you’ve been arrested for a crime, you should turn to a criminal defense attorney in Denver, CO for reliable answers to your legal questions. Felony defense attorneys have extensive experience guiding defendants through the criminal justice system.
Myth: Miranda rights must be read immediately.
This is one of the most enduring myths criminal defense attorneys hear. In fact, police officers are not obligated to read a suspect the Miranda warnings immediately after making an arrest. Suspects must only be informed of these legal rights once they are in police custody and before an officer interrogates the suspects. Even if police officers do fail to read you the Miranda warnings before asking you questions about the alleged incident, the judge will not dismiss the case entirely. Instead, any statements you make before being read your rights will be suppressed. That is, they cannot be used as evidence.
Myth: Failure of a defendant to testify implies guilt.
Some defendants are eager to tell their side of the story in the courtroom. This is understandable, but it’s almost never a good idea. If a defendant does not take the witness stand to testify in his or her own defense, it does not suggest a guilty conscience. Rather, it suggests smart strategizing by the criminal defense attorney. Defendants are protected by the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, which means they cannot be compelled to testify. If they do take the stand against the lawyer’s advice, they are subject to cross-examination. In this case, they do forfeit their right to avoid self-incrimination.
Myth: A victim can decline to press charges.
This misconception often pertains to domestic violence cases. It’s thought that if a victim declines to press charges against his or her abuser, the police have no basis to investigate the alleged incident. In fact, suspected domestic violence offenders can still be arrested, investigated, and charged. It’s certainly easier if the victim does cooperate, but it’s not mandatory.