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6 Common Criminal Law Myths You Need To Avoid Falling For


Many people cannot tell the facts from the myths when it comes to criminal law. Often, what people see in movies or TV shows is exaggerated, narrow, or inaccurate, and unfortunately, many people believe everything they see in movies and TV shows. Whether or not you are facing criminal charges, it is vital that you understand the truth about criminal law. To help you better understand criminal law, we debunk six of the most common myths below.

Myth #1: The Police Must Read Your Miranda Rights

One of the myths you might have fallen for is that the police must read your Miranda rights whenever they want to speak to you. The truth is that police officers are only required to read you your Miranda rights if they take you into custody with the intention of interrogating you.

It is crucial to note that routine traffic stops are generally not considered custodial.

Myth #2: If the Police Lie to You, You Cannot Be Convicted

The police are allowed to use psychological tricks to get confessions from people, including lying and making false claims. So, if you confess or share incriminating information because a police officer lied to you or made a false claim, your confession or the information can be used to convict you.

Myth #3: Evidence Obtained Without a Search Warrant Is Inadmissible

Indeed, in most cases, evidence is inadmissible if it was obtained without a search warrant because, most of the time, law enforcement officers need a search warrant to conduct a search. However, there are times when a warrantless search is legal, meaning, at times, evidence obtained without a search warrant is admissible. The following are some of the situations when a warrantless search is considered legal;

  • Search incident to arrest
  • Plain view searches
  • Inventory searches of vehicles
  • When an officer has gotten voluntary consent

Myth #4: Defendants Are Entitled to Three Plea Offers

Prosecutors and judges are not required to make any plea offer to a criminal defendant. Indeed, you can get three plea offers, but there is no legal requirement for judges and prosecutors to give defendants three plea offers.

Myth #5: An Arrest Is Invalid if the Police Don’t Read You Your Miranda Rights

If the police arrest you and fail to read you your Miranda rights, it only means that the resulting testimony or confession is inadmissible in court. An arrest is considered invalid if, for example, the police had no probable cause to make the arrest. Probable cause means an officer has reasonable grounds to believe a crime may have been committed.

Myth #6: You Must Answer Police Questions After an Arrest

After an arrest, you have the right to remain silent, meaning you don’t have to answer police questions. And if you refuse to answer police questions, the police cannot conclude that you are guilty, nor can they charge you with obstruction of justice.

Contact an NYC Criminal Attorney

If you need help understanding criminal law much better or with a criminal case, contact our NYC criminal attorney, Mark I. Cohen, Esq., at 917-414-8585.


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