Misconceptions in Criminal Defense

woman prisoner in cuffs holding head in hands in front of lawyer

Being accused of a crime is stressful. Not only are you concerned about your future but that of your family. It is the job of your criminal defense attorney to represent you in court.

But knowing who to trust and what to do is a large undertaking. We’re setting the record straight on some of the most common misconceptions when it comes to criminal defense.

I don’t need a criminal defense attorney

You can’t afford to go without a criminal defense attorney. Though the United States Constitution promises that all citizens charged with a crime will be provided representation, a public defender, if you can afford a criminal defense attorney, you should consider seeking representation. Because a public defender must take on more cases than a private attorney, your case will get the attention it needs when you choose a private firm.

My criminal defense attorney is here to make sure I’m found not guilty

While it is the job of your attorney to make sure your rights are upheld in a court of law, that does not necessarily mean you will get off scot-free. The role of the lawyer instead is to ensure there is no infringement upon your Sixth Amendment rights.

All criminal defense attorneys are the same

That simply is untrue. As in any profession, there will be more experienced individuals than others in the field. It is up to you to find an attorney that best fits your needs. Founded in 1962, the law firm of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano has a roster of seasoned Scranton attorneys who are prepared to represent clients facing a wide range of legal issues.

Police always have to “read me my rights.”

Under the Miranda Rule, your rights are read when you are taken in custody and the officer is completing what’s referred to as interrogating— questioning an individual about an alleged crime or criminal activity.

Police are only required to Mirandize a suspect if they intend to interrogate that person under custody. Therefore, some arrests can occur legally without the Miranda Warning being given.

Your charges will appear on your record forever

If you are charged or convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania, a police or court record of that arrest or conviction will likely exist forever. However, the record expungement law gives you options. Expungement is a legal term used to describe the clearing of a person’s criminal record or traffic record.

Expungement is a timely process which can take six to nine months to complete, with many exceptions to receive the benefits, including:

  • Five years have passed since you have been charged with any criminal proceedings
  • The subject of the record has been dead at least three years
  • You were arrested but no disposition of your case occurred in the past 18 months and there are no pending criminal proceedings against you

If you’re accused of a crime, call a law firm with a demonstrated history of success.

Contact Us

Don’t take on your criminal defense case alone. Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano can help you decide how to proceed. Contact us for more information.

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