If you have been charged with a crime, it is normal to be nervous about your upcoming court proceedings. You may be worried about the sentence you receive or about the actual court process. But while this is sure to be a trying time for you, some of your worries may be based on misconceptions rather than on reality. Here are three common misconceptions people have about being charged with a crime.
1. If you're guilty, there's no use in pleading not guilty.
You may figure that because the court has evidence that you did commit the crime, you will definitely be found guilty. However, this is not always the case. You are still permitted to plead not guilty even if the evidence seems to prove you guilty without a doubt. In most cases, your attorney will have you plead not guilty to the crime you are charged with in an effort to get the court to find you guilty of a lesser crime. For example, if you are charged with grand larceny, a felony, your lawyer may have you plead not guilty -- so that you can be charged with petit larceny, a lesser charge. Do not get trapped into pleading guilty just because you feel guilty.
2. If the police officer who charged you does not show up, you'll be let off the hook.
Many people spend the days leading up to their court case hoping the officer won't show. They figure that this is a sure path towards a "not guilty" sentence. This misconception may come from traffic court, where citizens who plead not guilty are sometimes let out of traffic tickets if the officer who ticketed then did not show up. However, this does not work in an actual criminal court. There is no requirement that the officer who arrested you show up to court, and many times, unless they are specifically asked to be there are a witness, they won't be in court.
3. Your lawyer will have to lie to get you off the hook.
Some people figure that because they did commit the crime, their lawyer will have to lie to get them off the hook. This is not the case. The criminal defense attorney won't lie. They will, however, try to cast doubt on the evidence placed against you. This is their job, and it is your right to have them defend you in this way -- so do not feel guilty or bad about having a good lawyer on your side.