Oceanside criminal lawyer Peter Liss believes you should know all you can about the law in order to best protect your rights. That’s why we have previously debunked legal, forensic and DUI myths and are now ready to bust another set of criminal justice myths.
Criminal Justice Myth: Someone Must Press Charges
It sounds good in movies and tv shows when the victim of a crime says they do or don’t want to press charges, but the reality is that it is not up to them. While the District Attorney may take the victim’s wishes into consideration, the decision of whether or not to press charges is totally up to the DA.
In fact, in domestic violence cases, the policy is to typically press charges, even if the victim immediately recants their statement. The District Attorney will take into account a non-cooperative victim though, especially if the evidence is weak or uncorroborated.
Criminal Justice Myth: Without a Warrant, Evidence Becomes Inadmissible
This is one of the rare criminal justice myths with some truth behind it. If the police blatantly violate your rights by committing an illegal search of your property, your Oceanside criminal lawyer can probably get the evidence withheld from trial. That being said, the rules about what requires a warrant and what doesn’t are extremely complex.
Police need a warrant to search your cell phone, but they do not need one to look at your emails or texts stored on a cloud server from the last 180 days. They do not need a warrant to search your car -that is, unless it is parked in the driveway or garage of your home. If something is in plain sight, even in your home, police can search it, and if you give police permission to look inside your property, they do not need a warrant. Additionally, if they believe there are exigent circumstances requiring them to take immediate action, they can search any property at any time.
If you believe your rights were violated by an illegal search, your Oceanside criminal lawyer can help determine whether they were or not and whether or not the evidence might be withheld as a result, but don’t believe the criminal justice myths about this being an automatic way to avoid a conviction.
Criminal Justice Myth: Police Can’t Lie to You
Actually, while it’s a crime to lie to the police, they have free reign when it comes to lying to you. In fact, they often lie to suspects in order to secure a confession by claiming they have evidence, witnesses or the confession of an accomplice tying them to the crime. The Supreme Court has even upheld their right to do this. Because the police can say practically anything during interrogations, it is critical you work with a criminal lawyer in North County to help protect your rights and prevent you from saying something that might incriminate you later on.
Criminal Justice Myth: Most Cases go to Trial
This is another one most people believe thanks to movies and television; but the fact is that while showing a District Attorney and a defense lawyer debate one another isn’t as interesting as a big trial with surprise witnesses, only 1.5% of cases in San Diego end in trials. 80% of felony cases in the state end with plea bargains, with the other 20% ending in trials, dismissals, or sometimes other situations like the defendant’s death.
Criminal Justice Myth: Spouses Cannot Testify Against Each Other
This is one of the most pervasive criminal justice myths, which is why we already discussed spousal privilege in detail. But the bottom line is that while a person cannot be forced to testify against their spouse, they may choose to. Additionally, while the even the spouse cannot choose to divulge confidential communications between themselves and the defendant, the defendant can choose to waive that right and allow the spouse to provide that information.
There are a lot of criminal justice myths out there, which is why it is so important to work with an Oceanside criminal lawyer rather than trying to navigate the system yourself. If you are charged with a crime, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by DonkeyHotkey