There are so many police and legal procedurals on TV these days that Hollywood scripts are being taken for facts over the real laws. Read the six myths and real facts below and who knows, they might come in handy sometime.
Debunked Legal Myths
1. If you aren’t read your Miranda rights, you can walk.
Fact: While your arrest still counts, this means that if you are interrogated without being read your rights your statement to the police cannot be used against you.
2. The police cannot enter your house without a warrant.
Fact: They can. There is a myriad of exceptions to searching a house without a warrant. A warrantless search is something your attorney will deal with later. It is not something to deal with when armed police are coming into your home.
3. It takes time to trace a call, so hang up fast!
Fact: Calls are automatically traced and a paired address will come up instantly. This is so 9-1-1 responders can take immediate action if a caller stops speaking.
4. You have to answer any questions the police ask you.
Fact: A police officer can ask such questions as your name, address, what are you doing here and so forth. No, you don’t have to answer, but that might only drag out the meeting with the police officer. The 5th amendment provides you the right to remain silent anytime, not just when you are arrested.
5. If the police lie to you, you can’t be convicted.
Fact: The police can and sometimes do lie to you. It is a tactic to get a person to talk to them. However, it depends on how big the lie is, such as a false inducement. “If you talk to us, no charges will be filed.” Obviously, this will cause the detective headaches later. But, courts have approved officers saying such things as, “We found your fingerprints at the scene,” when actually they haven’t.
6. You cannot be convicted without fingerprints, DNA, or video evidence.
Many cases involve none of the above, or anything remotely scientific. Normally, it is your mouth that gets you convicted.