Common Misconceptions About The Criminal Justice System

When it comes to criminal justice, not many people have a lot of knowledge about it. When people get charged with criminal offenses, they have thousands of questions about the court process and the legal penalties. This is because, for most people, it is their first time interacting with the criminal justice system.

If you have only seen and heard about the criminal justice system from television and web series, you must believe in various misconceptions. It is important to shed light on the facts before you make a bad move and worsen the situation. A Houston criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid mistakes and explain your legal options.

Common misconceptions about the criminal justice system 

  • You can only make one phone call. 

The number of phone calls allowed after an arrest is not specified in the US Constitution. However, a person is still allowed a couple of phone calls to notify their family members and attorney. A person can be allowed to make more than one phone call if they have multiple parties to inform or to call another individual if the first one does not pick up. 

  • Victims can decide to drop the charges. 

While the police consider the victim’s statements, they alone cannot decide whether the charges should be dropped or not. The victim is free to make complaints, but what happens after that depends entirely on the criminal justice system. So even if the victim decides to drop the charges afterward, it is no longer within their right to do so. Once the complaint is filed, the prosecution makes the decision. 

  • The police must identify themselves. 

Somewhere along the way, the misconception was formed that police are required to identify themselves as officers of law enforcement before taking any action. Not only is this untrue, but it also defies logic because if this were the case, sting operations would not be possible.

Part of this myth is associated with entrapment. Entrapment is when people are coerced into committing a crime. However, simply being offered the opportunity to do something illegal is not entrapment. 

  • Giving long sentences to convicts makes the world a safer place. 

You may have seen victims demanding justice by requesting the court to give long sentences to convicts to teach them a lesson. However, that is one of the biggest misconceptions prevailing in today’s time. Longer sentences do not usually make reformed people but give the prisoners time to learn more tactics from other prisoners.

If you have been accused of a crime in Houston, you should not wait until the last moment to hire an attorney. When it comes to your freedom and reputation, it is better to be safe than sorry.