Some Common Myths About Criminal Defense
Many myths abound about criminal defense, many of which you may not know about. It is crucial that you understand the facts about criminal defense and avoid falling for the myths. In this article, we debunk some of the most common myths about criminal defense with the aim of helping you better understand the legal system and the rights of criminal defendants.
Myth #1: Every Criminal Defendant Is Entitled to a Public Defender
The Sixth Amendment to the nation’s constitution requires the government to provide legal counsel to criminal defendants in criminal cases. However, not every criminal defendant is entitled to a public defender. The right to a public defender is reserved for those defendants who cannot afford to pay a private attorney. If the judge in your case determines that you can afford to hire an attorney, you will need to hire your own attorney.
Myth #2: Every Criminal Defendant Must Testify
The decision to testify in your criminal case is entirely yours. Your attorney should advise you on their opinion of this decision, but the decision is yours. The Fifth Amendment provides you the right not to be forced to testify in your criminal case and this includes providing a statement to police as part of an investigation.
Myth #3: Prosecutors Always Have Strong Evidence
Some people assume that because they have been charged with a crime, it must mean the prosecution has strong evidence against them. Some people believe that because they have been charged with a crime, it means the prosecution has enough evidence to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Indeed, this is often true. But only a qualified criminal defense attorney can meaningfully review the evidence to determine if the prosecution has strong evidence against you.
Myth #4: All Criminal Defense Lawyers Are the Same
All criminal defense lawyers are not the same, and it is crucial that you choose the right lawyer for you and your case. You should look for a lawyer who is experienced, reputable, and responsive.
Myth #5: If Your Case I Dismissed, You Are off the Hook
Unless the case is specifically dismissed “prejudice”, the prosecutor can refile the charges anytime within the Statute of Limitation. In Indiana, the statute of limitations is 2 years for a misdemeanor and 5 years for felonies.
Myth #6: You Cannot Change Your Criminal Defense Lawyer
Some people believe that after they hire a criminal defense lawyer, they have to work with that same lawyer until the end of their case. This is not true. If you are unhappy with your defense attorney, you have the right to hire a new attorney. While changing attorneys in the middle of your case can result in a delay in resolution of your case, it may be necessary if you believe your current attorney is not effectively representing you.
Contact an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with a crime, our experienced and dedicated Indianapolis criminal defense lawyers at Rigney Law LLC may be able to help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.