Hope this last full week of June is going well and your LSAT preparation for the September LSAT is well under way. I thought I could help you take a quick break from your Logical Reasoning questions and Reading Comprehension passages to chat a little about the ridiculous amount of law and order myths you are barraged with on television and in the movies. We’ve discussed how one of the worst reasons to decide to go to law school is “because you love [place appropriate legal show/movie here] and want your life to be just like that!”
All of those television shows and movies are the overly dramatized versions of a world full of paper work, delays, and settlements. You do not get to do your own crime scene investigations. You will probably never get the chance to orate an endless tirade against your opposing counsel or slam your fist down on a polished oak table in a courtroom and yell for justice. I truly hope you knew this. If you didn’t, sorry to break it to you and you may want to rethink this whole LSAT prep thing you’ve been doing.
I thought it’d be fun to go over some myths about law and order that many people believe in because of the media. Let’s dive in!
- Criminals Must Be Read Their Miranda Rights
We’ve seen this scene time and time again. The robber gets caught. The murderer is found out. The heroic cop or agent handcuffs the bad guy in one slick maneuver and starts with those famous first words, “You have the right to remain silent.” Many people think that if these rights are not read out loud, as you are being arrested, you will be able to walk. False. This is a warning read to people who are about to be interrogated. So, though most of the time it’s a good idea for an officer to read one their Miranda rights, it’s not necessary if, for instance, they are arresting someone for drunk driving and he or she had a 0.15 BAC level; there’s no need for an interrogation. It’s an open and shut case. At that point, if the officer doesn’t read “drunky’s” Miranda rights, it makes no difference.
- Everyone Gets One Free Phone Call When Arrested
All those characters in your favorite TV shows and movies immediately demand for their one call the moment they step foot in their cells. What most people aren’t aware of is that phone calls in prisons and jails are a privilege, not a right. If an officer thinks you don’t deserve it, then too bad for you. And, even if you do get the opportunity to make a call, it’s not free. The person on the other end must be willing to pay for it.
- Undercover Cops Must Identify Themselves If Asked
This is always my favorite myth. It makes no sense! I always laugh, thinking of the scene in The Departed where Leo DiCaprio yelling in his Bostonian accent “I’m not a cop!” Well, we all know he is. If this were a real law then even the most tweaked out meth heads would remember to ask their new dealers or friends the magic question before interacting with them. Come on, people!
How many of those were you aware of? You can test your friends and family for fun, as well! Hope you enjoyed that nice breather from your prep. Now, make sure you have a better reason for going to law school than “loving court dramas” and head back to studying for the LSAT!