Criminal defense attorneys aren't just called in when you're guilty of a crime. Any time you've been accused of a crime -- whether you're under arrest or not -- is a good time to consult with a criminal defense attorney first. Even dealing with the police as a witness or innocent bystander can potentially become an issue if you don't have legal counsel.
Cops Need to Say They're Cops
It's fairly common for people to ask "Are you a cop?" and expect an honest answer. Not only can cops say that they're not cops, but cops can lie -- about anything. They can say there is a witness that saw you committing a crime, or that they have evidence that you committed the crime, even if they don't. Lying isn't illegal, even if a police officer does it.
Police Have to Give You Your Miranda Rights
Everyone is familiar with the knows the "you have the right to remain silent" speech from television. But there's a popular myth that police need to read the Miranda Rights passages to you while you're being arrested or your case will be thrown out of court. However, your case can get thrown out only if the only evidence the police have is as a direct result of their failure to read you your rights. If they have other evidence for their case, they don't need to throw it out.
All Cops Can Make Deals
It's very common for a police officer to say that your case will be dismissed or thrown out if you confess or if you can produce another guilty party. Most police officers simply don't have the authority to make such a deal -- and them saying something doesn't constitute a deal. An attorney, like those at Kassel & Kassel A Group of Independent Law Offices, absolutely needs to be engaged to make a deal official.
Cases Are Dismissed If Cops Don't Show
This is a fairly common holdover from traffic court. Many people with traffic violations note that if police don't show up, cases are often dismissed. But a police officer generally has a few opportunities to show up even in traffic court. Criminal court does not operate like this; the arresting officer does not need to show up.
There are many other myths about police. Part of a criminal defense attorney's job is to ensure that you do not accidentally implicate yourself in a crime, whether or not you may have been involved in the crime itself. It's always a good idea to consult with an attorney before speaking to the police at all.