The laws that govern our rights and the criminal justice system are sometimes more complex than people realize, which is why anyone charged with a crime should consult a criminal lawyer. While someone knowledgeable about the law can help you prepare a strong defense, it’s important to separate facts from the myths. This overview can help you gain a better understanding of your rights.

4 Myths About the Criminal Justice System

1. Victims of Crimes Can Drop the Charges

There’s no doubt that a victim’s testimony or statement can strengthen the case against a defendant, but the victim’s participation isn’t always necessary. While a criminal lawyer may be able to build a stronger defense in cases where the victim drops the charges, the prosecutor can still proceed with the case. In a criminal trial, the state or local government is the plaintiff. As long as the prosecutor believes they have enough evidence to obtain a conviction, the trial can move forward.

2. You Can’t Be Charged Without an Arrest

A grand jury is held without a formal arrest in many cases. Sometimes, the accused may not know that an investigation is targeting them until they’re issued a summons to appear in court. The first court appearance will notify the individual of the charges and offer the defendant an opportunity to consult a criminal lawyer—all without an arrest taking place.

3. You Must Answer Questions 

Criminal LawyerThe police must have probable cause to suspect that you have broken the law before they can stop you. Even in that situation, you’re only required to provide minimal information, such as your name and address.

While lying to the police is considered a crime in itself, you’re well within your rights to refuse to answer any questions. In fact, it’s in your best interest to ask to speak with a lawyer before engaging in any conversations with the police.

4. Know Your Right to a Phone Call

The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee a right to make a phone call, but some states have enacted their own laws that do provide this right. Georgia, New York, and Colorado are just a few of the states that provide arrested individuals with the right to make a phone call.

The rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution include the right to be informed of the charges against you and to see the arrest warrant issued in your name. The 14th Amendment promises due process, which requires that an accused defendant be given a trial as early as possible.


It’s difficult to separate fact from fiction under the stress of being charged with a crime. The criminal lawyers at Bray & Johnson can explain your rights to you if you’ve been arrested. Located in Canton, GA, the firm has been representing clients in North Georgia for more than 45 years, so you can trust in their criminal defense expertise. To schedule a consultation, visit their website or call (770) 479-1426.