Law Myths – Legal Facts You Need To Know

All citizens have a right to legal representation that is fair, honest, and complete. When you seek the assistance of a Lake of the Ozarks attorney, you need to choose one who has your best interests and the interests of your loved ones at heart. 

At Deputy & Mizell, we not only represent our clients in legal matters, but we also help our clients understand the law, because what you do not know can hurt you, and unfortunately myths about the law are still very common. We’re here to set the record straight about these legal myths and misconceptions.

Hammer and gavel

Misconceptions about the law run the gamut, from simple misunderstandings about divorce and the division of marital property to legal myths surrounding the probate process and what will happen if a family member dies without a will.

Here are a few legal beliefs that you should be aware are actually myths:

Refusing a Search Means You’re Guilty

The idea that refusing a search by police and other law enforcement professionals automatically makes you guilty is a long-standing myth. In fact, you have the right to refuse a police search that is not issued by a warrant. The police being suspicious is NOT a good enough reason to consent to a search. Saying no to a requested search will not make you guilty, it simply means you are preserving your rights by requiring a warrant to be issued.

An Arrest is Not Valid If You Are Not “Mirandized”

If the police fail to Mirandize a defendant, that only makes the resulting confession inadmissible. Any other evidence can still be used against the defendant at trial. In fact, after the Supreme Court established the rule that bears his name, Ernesto Miranda was retried and convicted without his confession.

You Can’t Be Charged with a DUI on Private Property 

This is a widely held legal misconception. You can get a DUI on private property, in fact, you can even get one when you’re sleeping it off in a car in the driveway with the keys in your pocket. If you are simply having a drink on your front porch and you’re rambunctious enough to attract a police officer’s attention, you could actually be charged with public intoxication.

Police Officers Can’t Lie

One of the most surprising legal myths involves the behavior of police, and this one could have a profound impact on you or someone you care about. There is a widespread misconception that police officers are not permitted to lie during the course of an investigation, but that is not true. 

Police officers can, and do, provide misleading information in an attempt to trip up suspects, and this legal tactic is common practice in law enforcement circles. Just think of every undercover officer who has been asked, “Are you a cop?” Of course they lie.

Criminal Defendants Are Entitled to Three Plea Offers 

This legal myth came from jail rumors. Actually, prosecutors and judges are not required to make ANY plea offers to a defendant. So yes, a person may receive three offers before setting a case for trial, but there is no legal basis for it. If an offer is made and rejected, it does not mean the next offer will be better than the earlier one. Our criminal defense attorneys can represent you if criminal proceedings and fight for you in plea negotiations.

Online Comments Cannot Get You In Trouble

The belief that posts are protected from libel claims is completely wrong. Everyone has the same rights and responsibilities under defamation law and simply writing “in my opinion” does not mean you are off the hook for what you say. Any comment that sounds like a statement of fact could end up being considered defamation. It’s all about context, but you may have to defend your claim in court if what you wrote damaged someone’s reputation.

Contracts Must Be Written

This legal myth can be very important to know if a disagreement about expectations occurs. The truth is that not all contracts have to be in writing. An oral contract can and will be enforced unless there is a specific law that requires the particular type of contract to be in writing.

Always Cooperate With Police Right Away 

People say that you should simply always tell police officers what they need to know. The truth is that it is best to not talk to the police until after you have talked with your attorney. The experienced lawyers at our firm will determine the proper path to take in your legal matter, the one that protects you and your rights.

Lake of the Ozarks Lawyer

When you work with our experienced attorneys in the Lake of the Ozarks, you will no longer be laboring under any legal misconceptions, and you can free yourself from common myths about the law. We can guide you through every step of the legal process, from gathering the required documentation and filing the lawsuit to negotiating a fair settlement for you and your family.

Contact Deputy & Mizell today for a no-cost evaluation of your legal matter!