Common Misconceptions About Criminal Defense

Posted over 4 years ago. 4 helpful votes



They Didn't Read Me My Rights

This is the most common error I see on Avvo. I treat it separately in another guide but since nobody reads my guides I'll highlight it here. The police don't have to read you any rights, not even on arrest. This is only a necessity if the police want to question you while you are in custody. Nobody has to read you anything if you're being arrested and simply put in jail.


The DA Took My Polygraph and Still is Prosecuting

People continue to believe that a polygraph test will prove them innocent. In fact polygraphs are inaccurate, inadmissible in evidence and subject to manipulation. If anybody asks for a polygraph and your attorney agrees it might be useful have his investigator do it. Then you'll know no tricks are involved. Never volunteer for a polygraph on your own.


Except for the Homicide Charge My Record Is Clean

Yeah and so what? I had a retired client who was never arrested for anything in his life and then got in serious death penalty type trouble. He kept insisting he had a clean record. It DOESN'T matter. Either you did the crime or you did not. Either the DA can prove it or he cannot. Your clean record might help at sentencing but when you come into your first interview screaming about this injustice you should save your breath. It doesn't matter.


Racial Attitudes

This is a sensitive subject but the most difficult clients I have are invariably white people. Why? Because they're used to being treated as privileged and they don't get the idea of jail, particularly when they're in it. People, just because you're white don't expect special favors or special treatment. For once in your protected life you are going to be treated just like everybody else. It's not going to move faster because you're white and the DA will not be more reasonable because you're white. Forget the privileges.


The List Is Endless

I could go on but won't. Most misconceptions stem from a refusal to take responsibility. If you can step up, man up, your defense attorney can do more to help you. But if you keep whining about your rights, your clean record and your privileges Justice is going to turn a deaf ear on you.

Additional Resources

John M. Kaman

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