4 Common Myths About Criminal Trials
If you’ve ever watched old reruns of Matlock, Perry Mason, or Law & Order, then you may have picked up a few myths and misconceptions along the way. At the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A., our criminal lawyers help everyday folks get through really challenging and frustrating legal problems, including criminal charges. Even really good people can make simple mistakes and get caught up in the law. But sometimes the myths and stereotypes of television are actually more dangerous than you would think. Here are just four of the more common myths that people have about criminal trials.
#1 – Hearsay! You Can’t Talk About Things That Were Said Out of Court
Well, yes and no. If you’ve ever watched a legal drama, there’s about a 90% chance that you’ve heard a lawyer leap from his or her seat and scream “Objection, hearsay.” The truth, however, is that the hearsay rule is very narrow. There are numerous exceptions to the rule. In fact, the Maryland Rules of Evidence outline a lot of various ways that testimony can still get in regardless of being hearsay. In other words, hearsay is fine, so long as it meets one of the many exceptions that are allowable.
#2 – Police Can’t Keep Talking to You Once You’ve Invoked Your Right to Counsel
Again, yes and no. The law says that a meaningful interrogation of a witness must stop. This doesn’t mean police can’t ask you questions about whether you are hungry, tired, or need to go to the bathroom. It’s a fine line, but there is nothing in the law that makes them entirely avoid you. So if you’re picked up for a DUI and ask for a lawyer, great. But if the officer asks if you need to use the restroom and you voluntarily blurt out that you’re drunk, you probably will not successfully get the statement excluded from evidence.
#3 – Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Do Whatever it Takes to Get the Defendant Off
No. This is the wrong way to view your criminal defense attorney. Attorneys are still sworn officers of the court who take an oath to the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the State. A good lawyer should never lie to a judge, break the law to help a client, or conceal evidence to win. These are great ways to end up not being a lawyer anymore. Instead, it’s the lawyer’s job to use the law to provide protections for clients and reduce the damage caused. If a person is innocent, the lawyer’s job is to reveal it. If the person is guilty, it’s the lawyer’s job to keep the system fair, make the government prove it, and hopefully avoid most or all of the negative consequences that the defendant could face. The idea is fairness – not trickery or deceit.
#4 – I’m Entitled to a Free Public Defender so I Don’t Have to Pay for a Private Lawyer
Probably false. While it is true that all people in this country have a Constitutional right to be represented by a lawyer in a criminal proceeding, the local laws of the states provide for the level of income that qualifies for services. In other words, you have the right to an attorney, but depending on income, you may not have a right to a free one. If you are ineligible for a public defender, you must retain an attorney of your choice or go to court without one.
Hire Todd K. Mohink Today
If you are worried about what will happen to you if convicted of a criminal charge in Maryland, talk to Attorney Todd K. Mohink today. With offices in Columbia and Glen Burnie, you can count on us to offer the real-world and practice legal advice you need.