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Criminal law myths you should know today

Criminal justice shows on television can provide an interesting look into the daily occurrences that happen within every stage of the criminal justice system. As is the case with most things you see on television or in the movies, you need to determine what is factual and what is not. Falsely believing these myths can lead to you having more issues than you previously did.

One myth that is common is that police officers have to read your Miranda rights as soon as you are arrested. In truth, police officers only have to read you these rights if you are being arrested and interrogated. This means that if you are arrested, but not interrogated until 12 hours later, your rights don't have to be read to you until the interrogation.

In order to protect yourself, you should invoke your Miranda rights when you are arrested. Don't speak to police officers or answer questions between the arrest and the interrogation because it could be assumed that you had implied a waiver of your rights.

Another myth is that your significant other can't testify against you in court if you get married. It is true that spousal privilege is valid, However, that privilege only has to do with communication between the defendant and his or her spouse during the marriage. If you and your spouse spoke of your criminal actions and weren't married, spousal privilege doesn't come into the picture because the communication didn't occur during the marriage.

At each step in the criminal justice process, you have to make sure that you know your rights and options. Believing any myths about the criminal justice system can negatively affect your defense options.

Source: FindLaw, "Top 5 Criminal Law Myths of All Time," Christopher Coble, Esq., accessed July 23, 2016

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