Don’t Believe These 4 Legal Myths About Police Misconduct
With all the recent media coverage of police misconduct, there are a lot of myths concerning your individual rights when stopped or arrested by a police officer. In order to prevent misconceptions that can damage your ability to protect yourself from police misconduct, here are four legal myths every citizen should know.
Myth: The police must read you your Miranda rights.
This is a myth that is perpetuated by law enforcement shows and movies, as many people envision a cop physically reading them their rights before being put in handcuffs. In actuality, the Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona that a police officer must let a criminal defendant know what their rights are, but only after they have been arrested.
Myth: You must speak to the police.
Untrue, although police officers are trained to make you feel as though you have to answer their questions. You have the right to remain silent during the entire process. You do not have to speak to the arresting officer if you do not feel comfortable. However, it is important to remember that if you choose to talk you should be completely honest and tell the truth.
Myth: All police use entrapment to get what they want.
One of the most controversial forms of police misconduct is entrapment, which is typically when a member of law enforcement uses coercion to get someone to commit a crime. However, there is a very fine line between legal undercover work and outright entrapment. If you are concerned you have been a victim of police entrapment, make sure to contact an excessive force and police brutality lawyer to represent you.
Myth: Cases always go to trial.
Many defendants believe that if they are arrested, they automatically have to deal with the court system. However, criminal defense lawyers will often meet with prosecutors to develop a plea bargain without the need for a jury trial. Likewise, civil cases rarely go to trial. Only about 4 to 5% of personal injury lawsuits end up before a jury. In the same way, police misconduct attorneys will try to meet with police officials to reach a settlement.
It is important to remember your rights when you are arrested, so keep these myths in mind if you ever find yourself in a bad situation with law enforcement. And, as always, contact civil rights attorneys if you believe your constitutional rights were violated during an encounter with the police.