While “true crime” shows like Law & Order, CSI and others are entertaining, they’re not exactly accurate. In fact, they create a lot of myths about the criminal justice system – and if you fall prey to them, they could cause serious damage to your case. Any experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can tell you that, but it’s important to arm yourself with facts before you even call an attorney.
Criminal Justice Myth #1
Myth: Police have to tell you that they’re police.
Fact: They don’t.
Many people believe that if you ask a cop whether he’s a cop, he has to come clean. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. This myth causes a lot of problems for people, including those who are eventually charged with drug possession the Chicago area. No matter how you ask an undercover officer whether they’re a cop, they’re never required to tell you the truth.
Criminal Justice Myth #2
Myth: If police don’t read you your rights, your case will be dismissed.
Fact: That’s extremely rare.
In most cases, police’s failure to Mirandize you (read you your rights) is not grounds for dismissal. Your attorney can get into the specifics with you, but don’t get your hopes up if you never hear “You have the right to remain silent…”
Criminal Justice Myth #3
Myth: You have to talk to police.
Fact: You really do have the right to remain silent.
Whether or not you are guilty, police can tell you anything to get you to confess. They might tell you that a judge will go easier on you or that they don’t intend to press charges against you as long as you tell the truth. The police aren’t in a position promises; you should never confess to anything without consulting with your lawyer first.
These aren’t all of the criminal justice myths that popular culture perpetuates; there are dozens more. (Police aren’t required to show you their radar detectors if you ask. They can make mistakes on tickets. You can still be charged with possession if you throw your drugs out of the car window…) Don’t waste valuable time believing in the wrong things – check with an experienced attorney who’s willing to fight for your rights.