7 Criminal Defense Myths Debunked

Myth 1: Public Defenders are as good as private lawyers

A common myth is that public defenders or court appointed attorneys get the same results as private lawyers. This is simply not the case most of the time. Public defenders and court appointed lawyers have huge caseloads that stretch them to their limit. Given the vast amount of cases these lawyers handle, they simply do not have the time needed to properly defend a lot of criminal cases. Public defenders are typically new attorneys who have only been practicing law for a few years. They typically do not have the experience of successful private criminal defense lawyers who get paid well because of their track record of results! 

When your freedom and liberty is on the line, you want a successful and experienced private attorney on your side. Why risk your liberty and freedom with a public defender who might be a recent law grad? 


Myth 2: Any private lawyer can get good results!

There are people who say just go out and hire a lawyer, any criminal defense attorney to represent you. This is bad advice and should be avoided at all costs! When you are looking to hire a lawyer to help you fight a criminal charge, make sure you hire a lawyer who only practices criminal defense law. This area of law is a complex branch that requires special expertise. If you are a jack of all trades lawyer, one who practices family law, corporate law and criminal law, you will not get an expert on your side! If you hire a professional criminal defense lawyer, you will have an expert on your side, who will have all the time and energy needed to successfully handle your case. 

Ask a lawyer you plan on retaining how many cases have they won. Ask them what their workload is. Ask the attorney you are interviewing how much time they can dedicate to your case. Ask them for examples of successful plea deals they have accomplished. Ask them how long have they been practicing law? 


Trying to hire the best attorney possible can seem like a hard task, but considering how much is on the line for you, you need to make sure you hire the best one possible for your needs. When the right attorney gets you the best results possible at trial or by a plea deal, you will be eternally grateful. 

Myth 3: Your Case Will be Dismissed If the Police Didn’t Read You Your Miranda Rights

In the United States Supreme Court Case called Miranda V. Arizona, the nation’s top court held that everyone arrested had a right to be informed of rights that a person possesses while in the custody of law enforcement.  These rights include the remaining silent. The right to have an attorney. The right to be appointed an attorney if you can not afford one. Your case can be dismissed if law enforcement does not inform you of your rights. However, there is a big exception. Your case will only be dismissed if, as a result of the Miranda violation, there is evidence suppressed and the result of the suppression means the State is not able to provide enough evidence necessary to continue with the prosecution. 

Miranda applies only when a person is found in custody, meaning the police have arrested someone and restricted the person’s freedom of movement. Additionally, the evidence gathered has to be a product of being gathered as a result of the illegal interrogation and this interrogation has to be conducted by an agent of the state. 


Myth 4: If you ask a police officer if they are a cop, they must tell you the truth

Wrong! Law enforcement agents are not required to reveal to you they are officers of the state when you ask them. Police officers are allowed to lie in order to gather information needed to arrest a person. 

During their training, they are taught how to mislead people into making confessions. The judicial system has no problem with this and allows officers to lie. Undercover work is based on lies. Law enforcement officers will say and do all kinds of things to get people to give up incriminating evidence. 

Myth 5: Without a Warrant, Evidence Obtained Will Be Found Inadmissible In Court

Thanks to the fourth amendment of the United States Constitution, everyone is protected from searches and seizures that are not reasonable. Because of this amendment, the state must show probable cause in order to be able to search a person’s property. This usually means a written search warrant must be obtained first. 

Of course, there are several exceptions to the protections of the fourth amendment and law enforcement agents know these exceptions well. 

  1. Terry Stops –These are searches that are “stop and frisk.” If police officers have a reasonable suspicion that a person is committing a crime, they are allowed to stop and frisk your clothing to see if you have anything illegal. 
  2. Plain View Searches — Law Enforcement agents are able to search and seize any evidence that is illegal to possess during the course of their daily routine. For example, if an officer knocks on the door of a house and when the owner opens up the door the officer sees a meth lab inside, the officer can seize the illegal contraband, shut down the lab and use this evidence in court. 
  3. Automobile searches — Police officers can search vehicles during a traffic stop if they have probable cause to conclude there is evidence of a crime. 

Myth 6: Attorney Client privilege is an absolute right

Attorney client privilege is not an absolute right. 

While it is true that communication with your criminal defense lawyer is protected, that protection is limited. There are a lot of exceptions to this rule and a lot of requirements have to be satisfied as well. 

The judge handling your case can find out what you told your attorney many times and it happens quite frequently. 

Myth 7: A Polygraph Can Prove Your Innocence

You are making a big mistake if you think a polygraph or lie detector test will prove your innocence. There are plenty of ways a person can game the polygraph test. There are also ways the prosecution can use these results against you. Do not take a lie detector test until you have talked this over with an attorney. If you insist on taking a polygraph test, take a private one first. If the results are good, present this evidence to the prosecutor. If you fail a private lie detector test, rest assured the prosecutor’s polygraph expert will claim you failed to pass. 

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.