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Common Myths About The Criminal Justice System


If you are facing criminal charges, it’s crucial that you understand how the criminal justice system works. You might think you understand how the criminal justice system works because you have watched “true crime” shows, but the truth is that the depiction of America’s criminal justice system in TV shows is not 100% accurate. In fact, some TV shows create a lot of myths about America’s criminal justice system. Unfortunately, if you fall for these myths, it could seriously harm your criminal case. If facing criminal charges, it is best you speak to a criminal defense attorney who understands America’s criminal justice system.

Myths About the Criminal Justice System

A qualified criminal defense attorney can help you understand the truth about America’s criminal justice system. But even before speaking to an attorney, you must arm yourself with facts. Below is the truth about some of the most common myths about the criminal justice system:

Myth #1: Police Must Always Identify Themselves

False: The police do not always have to identify themselves. If you ask an undercover officer if they are an officer, they are not required to come clean. Sting operations would be impossible if police officers were always required to identify themselves.

Myth #2: Your Criminal Case Will Be Dismissed if the Police Failed To Read Your Miranda Rights

False: It is not guaranteed that your criminal case will be dismissed because you were not informed of your Miranda Rights. A qualified criminal defense attorney can explain this in detail, but if you face criminal charges, do not get your hopes up because the police didn’t read your Miranda rights.

Myth #3: You Must Talk to the Police

False: You have the right to remain silent and refuse to talk to the police. When the police question you, you can refuse to answer their questions. It is not a criminal offense to decline to answer police questions.

Myth #4: If You Do Not Testify, it Means You Are Guilty

False: You can choose not to testify during your trial. And when you choose not to testify during your trial, the court must instruct the jury that they can’t consider your silence during deliberations. In most cases, criminal defendants do not testify, as testifying might result in defendants incriminating themselves.

Myth #5: You Cannot Be Prosecuted for the Same Crime Twice

False: Under the “double jeopardy” rule, the government is barred from prosecuting people twice for the same crime, but this protection only applies if you’ve been convicted or acquitted of a specific crime. Secondly, you can be tried, convicted, and punished for the same underlying crime in both state and federal courts. You can also be charged with a crime and conspiracy to commit the crime.

Myth #6: You Will Not Go to Prison if You Plead Insanity

False: Not everyone who pleads “not guilty by reason of insanity” escapes going to prison. Courts sometimes do not accept this plea. Also, courts hold a high threshold for proving the insanity defense.

Contact an NYC Criminal Attorney

Are you facing criminal charges and need a criminal defense attorney to help you understand and navigate the criminal justice system? Contact our skilled and dedicated NYC criminal defense attorney, Mark I. Cohen, at 212-732-0002.



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