Welcome to the first ever installment of Legal Mythbusters! Our goal here today is to address some common misconceptions about the law. Please feel free to share this with anyone who believes the list below of claims are completely factual. In all fairness, we all have been woefully misinformed about attorneys and the law from the very start.
There is a plethora of misinformation surrounding the law in books, movies, TV shows and any other type of media. The general public is left wondering what is real, and what is real in the world of Law & Order, The Wire, Criminal Minds, Bones, Columbo, NCIS, True Detective, Breaking Bad, CSI, The Mentalist, Psych, Night Court, Brooklyn 99, The Sopranos... Alright, you get the point. There are A LOT of law shows. And each has its own “unique” take on the law.
So let’s get started with one of the more egregious legal myths out there…
- MYTH: An undercover police officer always has to admit that they're a cop/Police officers are not allowed to lie during investigations.
- MYTH: If the police don't read a person their Miranda Rights when arresting them, they can't be convicted of the crime.
- MYTH:You have the right to a phone call after being arrested.
- MYTH: Bloggers and commenters are protected by the First Amendment against libel claims.
- MYTH: You can't be sued civilly for a crime you didn't commit.
Law enforcement is permitted to use deceit to fight crime. There’s no point to an undercover officer if he or she must reveal their true identities once confronted with a question of identification. Law enforcement is also permitted to use deceit in interrogations, which is another fun way of saying: be sure to lawyer up!
Everyone should know their rights. However, if you find yourself formally under arrest and your Miranda Rights are not read, that does not mean you have a full “Get Out of Jail Free” card. To clarify, the Miranda Rights inform you of your rights while in the custody of law enforcement. If you are not in custody or being interrogated, these rights do not need to be read to you.
If you are, and the rights are not read, any statements you make at that time will be deemed inadmissible in court. Law enforcement is not required to Mirandize you, but they do so for evidence gathering purposes.
The Sixth Amendment entitles you to legal counsel. But you’d struggle to find an Amendment detailing when or how many phone calls you are allowed. The fact is, you aren’t entitled to one. You may get one. You may get 50. You may get zero. There are many ways to get in touch with your legal counsel, and a personal call from a precinct payphone isn’t the only way to do it. Your phone call is a privilege, not a right, and can be revoked depending on the severity of your crime, or even simply antagonizing the officers.
Not true! Written defamation, also known as libel, sets out to target and harm a reputation. You may express yourself online the same way you do with people face-to-face in everyday life. But, behind a screen or not, you cannot intentionally lie to harm people’s reputations.
Being truthful is the best way to avoid this one; be impeccable with your word and you are in the clear.
Anybody remember that famous football player and part time actor Orenthal James Simpson? Jokes aside, O.J. Simpson avoided a guilty verdict in his infamous trial of the century in 1995. But nearly a year later, the court found him personally liable in civil court for the deaths of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.
Being found guilty and being found liable are obviously different things. Generally speaking, if one is found guilty in criminal court, they may be serving jail time for their criminal actions. If found liable in civil court, they may be ordered to pay a fine. In the eyes of the court, you can be not guilty of a crime but liable for the consequences of said crime.
So, there you have it! We busted a whopping FIVE myths in one short blog post. Have you heard any myths about legal lead generation? We would happily bust those for you, too!
Give us a call at 617.800.0089 to discuss any questions you may have, and get a free quote from our team. We’d be happy to increase your caseload and provide complimentary lead management software.