There is perhaps no other practice that is as widely misrepresented in popular culture as law. The procedures surrounding the criminal justice process are popular topics in books, television, and movies. Crime sells, and the public has an unquenchable fascination with it. At Tucker, Yoder and Associates, we know the media’s depiction of police procedures, and other facets of the justice system have given rise to several persistent legal myths. Some of these misconceptions are harbored by even the savvy of us, and while many of them are benign, others are far from it.
If relied upon, some of these myths can damage your ability to protect your rights, your property, and yourself. As with any discussion of legal issues, it’s best to consult a lawyer when you need guidance regarding the law. However, a good understanding of basic legal concepts is always beneficial, so today, we’re looking at legal facto or fiction and busting 5 common legal myths. After all, Ignorantia legis neminem excusat, or in English, ignorance of the law excuses no one.
- I Can File a Case Anytime I Want
While everyone is entitled to their day in court, no, you cannot file whenever you want. Civil cases not filed within a deadline are time-barred, and the court will not admit the plea. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. Slander or libel claims, a subset of personal injury law, have a statute of only one year. However, it is important to note that there are different timelines if a government agency is involved in your case.
Experienced legal counsel is essential to ensure all requirements and timelines are met and your right to file a lawsuit is preserved. If a case is dismissed on a technicality, it can be painful, especially when the suit relates to the recovery of money. Always ask your lawyer about the statute of limitations for your specific case. If you miss a deadline due to an oversight or glitch, you will have no recourse in court.
- The At-Fault Driver Will Pay My Medical Bills As I Incur Them
Unfortunately, this is not the case. If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, it can be an uphill battle. The accident usually is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Medical debt is a serious problem, even for those who have insurance. As you accumulate medical bills, you will need to rely on your auto or health insurance to cover the bills or pay out of pocket.
Only after the case is resolved in your favor and a settlement is reached will the cost of your care be recuperated. The other party is not required to pay you anything until a settlement is reached or a judgment entered. That’s why it’s so important to hire an attorney like Tucker, Yoder and Associates to give you the best chance of an appropriate settlement.
- You Have the Right to a Phone Call
In general, if you are arrested, there is no recognized constitutional right to make a phone call. Police are obligated to take certain actions, during and after your arrest, but allowing you a phone call is not always one of them. If you are arrested, the police must inform you why you are being arrested. They are also required to show you any arrest warrant issued against you and bring you before a court as soon as reasonably possible.
None of these requirements impose on the police an obligation to allow you a phone call to anyone outside of the jail. A few states have laws that specifically grant an arrestee the right to make a phone call following an arrest. This is the case in the states of California, Colorado, Nevada, and luckily, New Mexico.
- You Must Be Driving a Car to be Arrested For a DUI
False. It is not necessary to be found driving to get a DUI. If you start driving only to decide sleeping it off would be smarter, and an officer finds you on the side of the road, they can reasonably assume you drove to your location intoxicated. Even parked, if you exhibit signs of intoxication, an officer can arrest you. In some states, it’s also possible to get a DUI while riding a bicycle, or even a horse. Although you can’t get a DUI on a standard bicycle in New Mexico, it is important to remember that you can get one on a bicycle that is motorized, and you can be held responsible for operating a vehicle irresponsibly.
- As a Plaintiff, You Are Guaranteed Compensation
As much as we may all wish this was true, it is unfortunately false. There is no guarantee that you will win your case, even if your injuries were due to someone else’s negligence. There are plenty of individuals who have been legitimately injured, whose cases were not resolved favorably. If you do not receive a favorable ruling, you will not receive the compensation you need. Every injury case is different, and the amount of compensation (if any) is based on the unique characteristics of that case. That is why it is so important to have a firm like Tucker, Yoder, and Associates on your side to recover the maximum compensation that you are due.
The Bottom Line
Experiencing legal troubles may feel like a messy battle, but you don’t have to fight alone. Tucker, Yoder and Associates is here to provide you with the legal assistance you need. Injury law, domestic relations, and criminal defense are complex processes that are filled with misconceptions. Having the right lawyer assisting you can make all the difference in ensuring you have a smooth transition. If you’re looking for a lawyer in the Four Corners area, let us help you get through a tough time.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog/site is NOT, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. It is for general informational use only. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Further, this information does not create an attorney-client relationship