3 Myths About Presenting A Criminal Defense

Ask any criminal defense lawyer to tell you a few myths they've heard, and the hard part will be to get them to stop naming things. The law can seem mysterious, and a lot of people only learn about it from television and movies. This can lead to plenty of myths, and it's helpful to learn about a few of the big ones before you visit a criminal lawyer.

Hearsay Is Inadmissible

In the strictest sense, hearsay is inadmissible in court. The funny thing, though, is that the Federal Rules of Evidence carve out numerous exceptions. Things that someone else blurted out at the moment, for example, are considered "present sense impressions" that can be admitted. Hearsay is also admissible if there's no other way to get at the testimony, such as when a person has died.

Generally, the courts prefer to get direct testimony from witnesses, if at all possible. They're not shy, however, about finding exceptions.

It's All Circumstantial

Trying a 100% circumstantial case is hard for a prosecutor to pull off. That's not the same as the widely held belief that people can be convicted purely on circumstantial evidence. Some states have exceptions regarding convictions on circumstances, with the classic example being that some states require a body to be found for a murder to be charged.

A single circumstance will not even lead to a criminal charge. On the other hand, multiple circumstances might do the job. If you were the only person in the area where an assault occurred and first responders found you with blood on your knuckles, that's a pretty good start to a circumstantial case. Add in a few other elements, such as prior threats against the victim, and it gets tougher for a criminal lawyer to form a defense.

No Miranda = Instant Dismissal

The reading of rights is itself a bit of a ritual of law enforcement-centered entertainment. While issuing the so-called Miranda warnings about your right to remain silent makes a big difference in admissibility disputes, it's not a magic wand that waves away the whole case.

First, a case may be deeper than whatever was obtained under those circumstances. Second, the police may not have needed to have warned you, such as when someone volunteers information, especially if they weren't under arrest. Finally, even the best criminal defense lawyer in the land will still have to go through the process of getting evidence suppressed.

To learn more, contact criminal defense lawyers in your area.