SHOCKING REVELATION: 10 Fatal Myths That Could Land You In Jail!
Myth #1. “If I’m the subject of a criminal investigation, the police have to tell me everything about the investigation.”
FACT: The police, FBI or other law enforcement officers don’t have to tell you anything. In fact, they are even permitted to lie to you. If you are suspected of a crime, police officers will often mislead you in order to get you to admit things that could implicate you in a crime.
Myth #2. “I’m not guilty, I didn’t do anything wrong, so it doesn’t matter if I talk to the police.”
FACT: This is a fatal misconception, and could be very harmful to you. I know you want to cooperate, it’s only natural. However, it’s not a good idea to talk to police without your criminal defense lawyer present. Although police will often tell you that it’s better for you to cooperate with them or give them your statement, keep in mind that they are not your friends. Their job is to gather evidence, to get you to “volunteer” information that they can later use as probable cause to arrest you and charge you with a crime. They are not interested in information that will exonerate you or prove your innocence. Speaking to police without your lawyer present can be a dangerous thing to do. Every day you read about innocent individuals who, after serving years in prison for crimes they DID NOT commit, are suddenly found “not guilty” and released! Do not speak to police without your criminal defense lawyer by your side.
Myth #3. “The FBI came and took my computers saying that I was being investigated for a crime. But that was 6 months ago and I haven’t heard from them since. Am I wrong to assume that I’m just “small fry” and they dropped the investigation?”
FACT: You are dead-wrong. You can bet that Law Enforcement does not “drop an investigation” of someone when a crime has been committed. When you are being investigated for a crime and you don’t hear from the police for a while, it doesn’t mean your investigation is over or dropped. Police may be gathering physical evidence against you, they may be interviewing witnesses and taking testimony or they may have you under surveillance. They are building their case against you, they did not drop the investigation and you would be wise to retain a criminal defense lawyer at the earliest stages of your investigation.
Myth #4. “I can always get my conviction expunged so long as the crime was not serious.”
FACT: You cannot expunge a conviction. In fact, if you have been convicted of ANY crime, you are ineligible to have your record sealed or expunged. If the charges against you were dismissed by the court, dropped by the State Attorney or you received a withhold of Adjudication or you were found Not Guilty after a trial you may be eligible for expungement. How long ago you allegedly committed a crime makes no difference. There are certain serious crimes that cannot be expunged.
Myth #5. “If I’m being investigated but haven’t been arrested or charged yet, hiring a criminal defense attorney will make me look guilty.”
FACT: If you are being investigated, they already think you are guilty. If you were arrested by the police, the police think you are guilty. As you may already know, people generally think “he must be guilty if he’s hiring a criminal lawyer to fight for him.” But the truth is hiring an aggressive and competent criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights is the smartest thing you can do when you are the subject of a criminal investigation. Ask yourself this question: if you had a miserable toothache, would you drill your own tooth? Of course not! Retaining an experienced criminal defense WARRIOR at the early stages of a criminal investigation is crucial if you are serious about protecting yourself from a possible criminal conviction and harsh penalties.
Myth #6. “If the police want to speak to me about a crime, I have to talk to them.”
FACT: This is a myth and it is FALSE – a detective calls you and he wants to just ask you some questions, nothing serious. Just a friendly chat. The fact that he just wants to “chat” with you instead of interrogate you doesn’t change a thing. He wants to con you into telling him everything you know. The only thing is… he doesn’t believe a word you say unless you are admitting to committing a crime. The reason he wants to chat with you is because he has some kind of evidence he plans to use against you. Remember – you have the RIGHT to remain silent. Use it! By speaking to police, you may confess to a crime that you didn’t commit, you may admit a fact that makes you appear guilty, you may get caught in a lie, the police may misunderstand you, they may not remember everything you said, they may lie about your statement or change your words around. The police are trained to use certain techniques designed to pull information out of you, information that could seriously harm you. They will use deceit, make false promises, threaten you, etc. Use your 5th Amendment Right to remain silent. Do not speak to the police without your criminal defense WARRIOR present.
Myth #7. “Going with a public defender is the same as hiring a private attorney.”
FACT: Many public defenders are very good lawyers, however they carry heavy caseloads each and every day. The problem with that is that they cannot possibly devote the amount of time, energy and personal attention that your case deserves. Additionally, public defenders do not have the resources your criminal defense lawyer has. PD’s don’t have the time necessary to investigate your case or to do the research necessary to persuade a Judge to give you a lighter sentence or to negotiate a favorable deal with the prosecutor or to prepare adequately for trial. Also, you don’t get to choose your public defender, they are appointed to your case. And the most important fact you should be aware of… who you choose as your criminal defense WARRIOR does make a difference!
Myth #8. “The person who called the police on me, changed their mind and doesn’t want to press charges. So I don’t have to be concerned, the police will drop it.”
FACT: Not necessarily. Just because that person decides to drop charges against you, it does not mean they will be dropped. The “victim” does not control the process. All is not forgiven simply because the victim has a change of heart. The fact that the victim does not want to press charges neither excuses nor negates the original criminal act. If a crime can be proven, the case will be submitted for prosecution. The victim will be forced to testify against you like any other witness, despite any arrangement they may have made with you after the fact. By filing a police report, a victim affirms that a crime has been committed and agrees to cooperate in any subsequent investigation and prosecution. It doesn’t matter if the person who reported you changes their mind and decides not to pursue charges against you, if the crime can be proven, the case will be submitted to the prosecutor. Once a crime is reported, the police don’t “drop” it.
Myth #9. “I don’t need to hire an attorney yet. I haven’t been charged with anything.”
FACT: This is a fatal error in thinking. The BEST time to hire a criminal defense lawyer is the moment you realize you are under investigation, or the moment you are arrested. Often your criminal defense lawyer can negotiate an early dismissal before any charges have been filed. If charges have already been filed, hiring your criminal defense lawyer before the arraignment is the next best time; while the prosecutor is talking to its “victims” this is the best time for your lawyer to be talking with the prosecutor during this decision-making period to make sure the prosecutor gets the entire story and not just the police officer’s version of events. Between arraignment and pre-trial conferences or case management is also an acceptable time to hire your criminal defense lawyer, though it is already late in the game since this is the time the prosecutor will be handing over evidence it intends to use in its case against you. If you wait any longer, it may be too late because your lawyer will not have had sufficient time to get discovery and prepare for trial. Don’t let hesitation, fear or procrastination keep you from fighting back! The best time to hire a lawyer is as soon as you realize you are on their radar.
Myth #10. “The police can’t come in and search my place or take my things without a search warrant.”
FACT: There are certain times when police can search your person, place or vehicle and take your things without a warrant. These are called “exceptions.” For instance, police may search your car or home if you give your consent. Your landlord may not give consent to your apartment being searched but your roommate can give consent. Another instance when a warrant is not required is when contraband is in plain view; in that case police may seize the illegal items without a warrant. Additionally police do not need a warrant if the search is connected to an arrest. Finally, in an emergency situation a search may be done without a warrant.