Rumors, television crime dramas, and the media have perpetuated many different myths and misunderstandings about the criminal justice system. When someone is arrested on suspicion of a crime, well-meaning but ill-informed friends and family often further complicate the situation by sharing inaccurate information. In this blog, we will explore some of the most common falsehoods about police, arrests, and the criminal justice system.
Myth: Cooperating with Police May Lead to a Lower Sentence
If you have ever been interrogated by police or watched a TV show depicting an interrogation, you may have seen police offering to “help” the defendant in exchange for the defendant’s cooperation. For example, the police may say, “If you answer my questions, I can help you out.” They may imply that confessing will lead to a lower jail sentence or reduced charges. However, police do not have the authority to determine a defendant’s charges or the length of his or her jail sentence. These are just tactics used to get a confession.
Myth: It is Best to Answer Police Questions Fully and Honestly
If you are like most people, you were probably taught that “honesty is the best policy” when you were growing up. However, providing information to the police is one of the worst things you could do after being arrested – even if you are innocent. You have a right to remain silent for a reason.
Myth: Most Criminal Cases Go to Trial
Another myth perpetuated by TV shows and movies is that most criminal cases end up at trial. In reality, criminal trials are exceedingly rare. Defendants plead guilty in over 90 percent of cases. Often, a guilty plea is a result of a plea deal or plea bargain in which the defendant is given reduced charges, reduced penalties, or other benefits in exchange for their guilty plea. This is why it is crucial that criminal defendants work with a lawyer who can help them decide whether it is better to negotiate a favorable plea deal or fight for their innocence at trial.
Myth: Police Must Tell You They Are Police
“Cops have to tell you if they are cops” is perhaps the most enduring of all police-related myths. Police are fully permitted to lie about their identity, status, and intentions. Many sting operations involve undercover police who pretend to be drug dealers or otherwise engaged in some type of criminal enterprise.
Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one were charged with a criminal offense, it is crucial to get your information from a qualified criminal defense lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer will be able to provide the advice and guidance you need to make the best decisions possible.
Contact experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney Kendall D. Hartsfield for dependable guidance and support during your case. Call 312-345-1700 for a free consultation.