Common Misconceptions about Being Arrested for a Crime
Interviewer: What would you say are some of the top misconceptions that people have about getting arrested for a crime when they speak to you about their case?
Zach Peagler: I think probably the biggest misconception when people come to see us, if they’ve been arrested, is that there’s nothing that they can do to prevent them from being convicted of the crime for which they’ve been arrested, and that’s not the case in the American judicial system, you’re innocent until proven guilty, and being arrested for the crime is not proof that you’re guilty of that crime. The standards are very different for arresting somebody and then proving them guilty in a court of law.
Interviewer: What do you think are some of the most common ways that people unintentionally incriminate themselves or hurt their pending cases both before and after they’ve been arrested?
Zach Peagler: Well, the number one way that people damage themselves in our experience is by providing too much information to the police, or talking when they don’t have to talk. We tell people, “You have a right to remain silent, and you need to use that right, because whether you think you’re guilty or not, oftentimes the police are going to question you in a way that would lead you to provide incriminating evidence against yourself, even if you’re not necessarily guilty of the crime. The police have a specific job, and that’s to arrest you and build a case against you, and so the less that you talk about what they’re trying to get you to talk about, the better off you are.
Interviewer: I see. What about during their case? Are there any mistakes that people usually do while they’re working with you?
Zach Peagler: Well, obviously they don’t need to get arrested again for anything else. That can present all kinds of problems and, unfortunately, it happens more than you would think. Also, I think it’s important for people that have been charged with crimes to be patient and let the process work itself off. Understandably, a lot of people, when they come see us, if they’ve just been arrested, want some resolution to their case. They want it to be over with as quickly as possible. I always tell people that time is on the side of a criminal defendant.
The longer a case draws out, 9 times out of 10 it’s more beneficial for the defendant, because evidence can break down, evidence can get lost, witnesses disappear or change their stories. Patience is certainly a virtue in the process of being a criminal defendant.
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