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Top 10 Legal Misconceptions About Getting Arrested

Florida DUI defense attorneyTrue or false: You can be convicted even if in building a case against you police lied. The answer is true, you can be convicted even if in building a case against you police lied.

A story posted recently on Money Crashers, a website that provides financial advice, discussed lying police officers and other common myths about being arrested.

Here are legal myths about being arrested in America that perhaps you didn’t know:

Myth: Police must read you your rights

The rights that police read to detainees are known as the Miranda warning. That stems from the Supreme Court ruling in Miranda v. Arizona in 1966 that said police must inform a criminal defendant of his or her constitutional right to an attorney and against self-incrimination. Miranda is required only in instances where police take a person into custody and want to ask them questions.

The key is “custody,” and most interactions police have with people are not custodial.

Myth: You have to talk to police

As a general rule, you are under no legal obligation to answer questions from police or prosecutors.

Also, if police take you into custody and interrogate you, you have the right to talk to your attorney before answering any questions and the right to refuse to answer questions.

In some situations, you may be required under law to give police certain information when asked.

For example, about half the states require that you provide police with identifying information like your name and address when asked to do so by police. In such cases, police must have a reasonable suspicion relating you to a crime in order to demand such information.

Myth: You have the right to a phone call

You have no recognized constitutional right to make a phone call, generally, though some states do grant the phone call right.

Myth: You can’t be convicted if police lie to you

Lying to the police is a crime, but police lying to you is not.

The Supreme Court has upheld the government’s right to use deception and make false claims in enforcing the law.

Myth: All deception by police is entrapment

Entrapment means police forced or coerced you to commit a crime you would not have otherwise committed. It is difficult to prove.

The high standards you have to meet to show entrapment means police can do a lot without their actions being considered entrapment.

Myth: You can’t be charged with a crime if nobody presses charges

The determination of whether someone gets charged with a crime is always up to a prosecutor.

Myth: Evidence can’t be used if police didn’t have a search warrant

The U.S. Constitution’s 4th Amendment grants people the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures -- but there are loopholes.

For police to search you or your property, they must go before a judge, show they have reason to believe you’ve committed a crime and request a search warrant.

There are many situations in which police can perform searches without a warrant and not be in violation of your rights, however.

For example, the plain view doctrine lets police use evidence they come across in their daily routine.

Myth: You can’t be convicted without fingerprints, DNA or video evidence

Many cases involve no forensic or scientific evidence and rely on witness testimony and criminal investigators only.

Myth: Your spouse can’t testify against you

Spousal immunity is a protection that prevents prosecutors from forcing the spouse of a married defendant to testify against that defendant in a criminal prosecution.

Again, there are loopholes. The spouse of a criminal defendant can choose to provide testimony that can be used against the defendant spouse.

Myth: Cases always go to trial

Most criminal cases in the U.S. are resolved through plea bargain agreements between prosecutors and defense lawyers, dismissals and deaths of defendants.

Contact Aguilar & Sieron P.A. Attorneys At Law today for help related to questions about being arrested and other interactions with police in northeast Florida. We are here for you when you need us most.

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