Interviewer: When people do come to see you, what are some of the top misconceptions they have about retaining an attorney that you have to dispel?
Carl: I think the most common theme is that most people don’t realize how many rights they do have and how strong their rights really are. First of all, they might not even realize that they have a right to plead not guilty. Which is an extraordinarily powerful right.
Innocent Before Proven Guilty
They may not realize that the prosecutor has to prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In our legal system you are innocent before proven guilty. They might have heard of that premise in school, but they don’t realize it applies to them. That being guilty isn’t the same as being presumed innocent.
It’s actually the opposite and everyone is presumed innocent. I try to road map three aspects for people to illustrate this point. Whether the stop was legitimate, whether the officer really had a legitimate reason to think that they were intoxicated, and if so, did they do all of the tests properly and use the proper protocol.
Using the proper protocol applies not only the field sobriety test, but also to the breath test or the urine or the blood tests. There are very specific procedures that have to be followed that most people aren’t aware of. This is an issue that keeps coming back to me over and over again. People don’t realize that there’s a significant amount of rights that they are legally entitled to, even during the most routine DWI case.
Interviewer: Speaking of rights leads me to this scenario. In the movies, the police always read a suspect their Miranda rights when they arrested. Do you ever encounter people that say that they were not read their Miranda rights or are unclear or confused about the process?
By Carl Spector