7 Myths & Truths About Criminal Charges in SC
From listening to friends and family, to searching online forums, or forming opinions from late night courtroom TV, false beliefs run wild when it comes to the law and the legal process.
Unfortunately, too many people make life altering decisions based on information from sources other than a licensed SC criminal defense attorney.
Before you make a decision that’s going to potentially alter your life and your future let us separate truths from myths about criminal charges in SC.
Below we expose several common myths about how criminal charges really work in SC.
Myth #1: If I’m charged with a crime, I’m guilty. End of story.
Every day, innocent people face criminal charges.
An officer or a prosecutor may assume you’re guilty because the evidence against you may point to guilt. “Pointing to guilt” doesn’t mean you’re guilty.
If the justice system fails you, you could end up an innocent person behind bars.
Instances like these do happen and innocent people are convicted. It’s the reason why hiring a criminal defense attorney who can defend you against a false conviction is so important.
Myth #2: If the cops didn’t read me my rights, then my charges will get dropped, and I’ll go free.
Not necessarily. Cops are required to read you your Miranda Rights only when you’re in police custody—also known as custodial interrogation.
Being under custodial interrogation means you’ve formally been arrested or that you’ve been restrained such that you believe that you’re under arrest; therefore, your rights should have been read.
If officers have not read you your rights while under custodial interrogation, and the evidence collected during that time was so crucial to the case that without it the case cannot stand, then your case may be dismissed.
If you’re not under custodial interrogation and volunteer information that leads to a charge (if you voluntarily go to the police station and answer questions, for example), then your Miranda Rights did not have to be read when that evidence was received, and therefore any resulting charges may stick.
Myth #3: For my drug possession charge to stick, the drugs must have been on my person.
There are two types of drug possession: you can possess drugs actually or constructively.
Let’s say you’re smoking weed. Smoking weed is an example of actual possession—you actually have the weed on you, and it’s clear you’re aware of what you’re smoking.
You may be charged with constructive possession, on the other hand, if you don’t have weed on you, but it’s in a place where you can reasonably have control over and access to it, such as your car or purse.
A possession charge can stick if you’re caught either actually or constructively in possession of drugs.
Myth #4: Before and after being charged with a crime, I have to answer all questions a cop asks me.
That’s also not true.
You do not have to answer questions before or after being charged—you can always exercise your right to remain silent. If you’re ever in doubt of your rights, use your right to an attorney who can help provide answers to any questions or concerns you have about talking to the cops.
Myth #5: I can’t be convicted if the police lied to me.
Yes, you can, actually.
Police officers are meant to serve and protect, and they’re allowed to use different means to help them do that, including lying to you. As long as the officer doesn’t threaten you, law enforcement can lie to you if they feel an untruth will help them get the information they want.
Seems unfair, but it’s the truth.
A police officer may lie to you, but you may not lie to a police officer. Lying to a police officer is considered a crime.
It’s best to exercise your right to remain silent because any information you provide officers can legally be used against you in court to convict you of a crime.
Myth #6: To be charged with a crime, someone has to press charges against me.
That statement is false.
Many victims of crimes press charges, meaning they go to the cops and will file a formal complaint against you for something you allegedly did. That’s not the only way you can be charged criminally. You can also be arrested and charged if a cop alleges that you committed a crime, even though no one reported it to them.
Myth #7: Hiring a lawyer will make me look guilty.
Many people believe that only the guilty need to be defended, but just because you hire an attorney isn’t an automatic admission of guilt. In fact, hiring an attorney is a smart move if you’re facing criminal charges because you don’t want to be wrongfully convicted of a crime simply because you didn’t have a strong defense or adequate representation.
Lawyers know and understand the legal system, and they know how to find loopholes that someone who doesn’t understand law might miss.
When you walk away unconvicted of a charge because you hired an attorney, you won’t look guilty—you’ll look smart. More importantly, you’ll feel like you made the right decision for your future.
Don’t get caught in a myth (or conviction).
Walking into a courtroom, confidently believing a myth can lead to devastating results, including conviction.
If you’re facing a criminal charge, don’t delay.
Call Kent Collins at 803-808-0905 or use our online form for a free consultation with a criminal attorney who knows the law and can help fight for your rights.