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What Are the Top Misconceptions About Being Arrested for A Crime?

The Law Office Phillips & Allen PA Nov. 20, 2022

The biggest misperception people have when they encounter law enforcement is that they think it would help to talk to the police. They think that at best it would not hurt, whereas far more often than not it does actually hurt them.

People really should exercise their right to remain silent, and they should exercise their right to an attorney, and they should just clearly and unambiguously ask for an attorney because both of these would trigger their Miranda Rights and it would shut down the interrogation. Most people would be clueless for the most part when they got charged, regarding what might happen and how it would happen, unless they had been through the system a fair number of times.

What Are Some Ways People Unintentionally Incriminate Themselves Or Hurt Their Pending Case?

When talking about the case whether with law enforcement or any third parties, the attorney would have privilege so the client would be able to talk to their attorney and not have to worry about it. The other big problem would be the delay. There are often very short deadlines in cases and people tend to just put their head in the sand so they tend to delay when things need to be done. The other problem people face is with evidence, because there is certain evidence that would need to be preserved right away the moment the attorney got the call, or else it might be lost.

The most common one nowadays is video surveillance, which a lot of places have and they tend to have it on the 24 or 72 hour loop where it would get erased if no one’s expressed the need for it. This kind of evidence would be gone if a call was not put in to preserve it.

This also applies to crime scene evidence. Any time there was a physical crime scene; there might be some circumstantial evidence that we would only get if we went to the crime scene. A vast majority if the time, when we take a look at the crime scenes, it is surprising some of the things we find or the observations we can make that would actually help the case.

How Public Would The Situation Be? Can Employers, Friends, Or Family Find Out?

The client’s conversations with their attorney are privileged; the only exception to that would be if there was a serious ongoing crime where someone was in harm’s way. There would be no issue in talking with the attorney regarding the charges, because the public record would show when someone had been charged.

A lot of states, including Maryland, have a judiciary case search website where anyone can search for and see the charges, with the exception of certain juvenile matters. In the long run, a lot of the criminal cases can be expunged at the end of it. The problem is that there are now a lot of private entities who basically data mine search and have built their own information data sources so a court order of expungement would be unable to get at those.

If it came down to a conflict where the charges were affecting someone’s present job or their job application, then the person could come to their attorney and ask about the charges that were showing and the attorney could then go into the system and show then that there was nothing there, which is one way we would be able to get past those private information sources.

Should Someone Who Is Guilty Throw Themselves To The Mercy Of The Court?

It would always be a bad idea to just throw oneself at the mercy of the court. We have a social policy longstanding in the west where we set a burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In theory, the worst thing that could happen is when an innocent people who was not guilty, gets convicted of crimes in spite of those checks in the system. The law journals and popular press have many examples of people who were convicted but were later exonerated because they did not do the crime.

Someone who was feeling guilty about something they did could seek some forgiveness or absolution, whether through a counselor, a church, or through their religion, but it’s a bad idea to try and get that from the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system in the U.S is oppressive and unfair. We have the highest percentage of people incarcerated among the first world nations in the world. The person has the right to force the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, so that is what they should do.

Would It Matter If Someone Was A Good Person, Had A Family, Or Had Never Been In Trouble Before?

It would not matter as far as whether or not someone was technically guilty, but it would make a difference regarding how aggressive the prosecutors would be. This is why the person’s attorney would often play those kinds of facts ahead of the game to reduce what the state would be seeking in the case, because it would certainly make a big difference in terms of disposition of a case. A “Recidivist” would be someone who had been in trouble multiple times, because the more times someone had been in trouble, the harsher the punishments would generally become.

If a first time offender could be shown as otherwise being a good upstanding, productive and stable citizen, then it would make a tremendous difference and it would be one of the reasons why it would be important to have an attorney to help flush out those facts and to document them so that it could be presented before the court in such a way that they would be admissible because they would be considered, and they would carry weight.

What Are Some Things People Have A Hard Time Understanding About Criminal Cases?

Probably the most difficult thing is that people, laymen on the outside looking in or a new attorney who came in, would tend to expect that the law worked more like mathematics, whereby if X event happened then Y would happen and Z would happen after that. The system is much greater and much more volatile than that. A person cannot expect to get the same kind of results even if the cases were similar because they would be dealing with different prosecutors and different judges, which overall tends to be one of the harder things for people to understand.

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