Thanks to TV and movies—and the complexities of criminal law in general—there are a lot of misconceptions about legal proceedings. For this reason, it is wise to leave your case in the hands of qualified professionals when facing charges. Even if you understand criminal law on a basic level, statutes vary by state, and the actual proceedings can differ from county to county. Read on for three surprisingly common misconceptions.
3 Common Misconceptions About Criminal Law
1. Tangible Evidence Must Exist for a Conviction to Result
Tangible evidence typically refers to anything beyond written or oral testimony. For example, it might include fingerprints or DNA evidence from the scene, surveillance camera footage, drug paraphernalia, or the results of a toxicology screening. Since this kind of evidence is often challenging to refute, it is obvious how its existence can lead to a conviction; however, it is entirely possible for one to result based solely on testimony from a single police officer.
2. Criminal Cases Always Go to Trial
If you are facing criminal charges, you may be terrified at the thought of going before a judge or jury. This is a natural reaction because trials are inherently stressful, especially as the defendant, when your freedom is at stake. Fortunately, most criminal cases are actually resolved via plea bargaining. Depending on the strength of the prosecutor’s evidence, your lawyer may be able to negotiate for lesser charges and reduced penalties.
3. The Case Will Be Dismissed if No One Presses Charges
Although cooperative witnesses certainly facilitate criminal proceedings, the prosecutor ultimately gets to decide whether to charge a suspect. For example, if an angry man calls the police claiming his wife hit him, but he cools down by the time the police arrive, he does not get to decide whether she faces charges or not. If law enforcement finds evidence of an altercation—like a bruise, for example—they may proceed with the criminal proceedings regardless of the man’s testimony (or lack thereof).
If you are facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania, you can rely on the team at Levy, Stieh, Gaughan & Baron PC for quality legal representation. Based in Milford, this law firm has been serving clients throughout the area for more than a decade. You can learn more about their various practice areas by visiting their website. To schedule an initial consultation with a criminal law attorney, call (570) 296-8844.