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5 Misconceptions About Crime Shows & Defense Lawyers

Law Articles

Many crime shows on television are packaged up as smooth true-life stories, but while it's presented nice, it's far from the reality of real criminal cases. If you've been charged with a crime, you may rely on your viewing of crime shows to gain knowledge on the process. Unfortunately, this may lead to many false pretenses and misconceptions about your case process. As you seek out a criminal defense lawyer, you should understand five different misconceptions about the process and ways it is projected on TV. By understanding these different elements, you can have realistic expectations for your case and the world of criminal justice as a whole.

Speed of the Case

It's not uncommon for TV crime shows to condense years of work into just 45 minutes. When you've been charged with a crime, there are many things that these television shows leave. After the initial arrest, you will have your first meeting with the lawyer, a possible bail hearing, and a number of preliminary hearings on the case. It could be months or even years before your case is settled or actually reaches a jury.

The key during this time is having patience or keeping an open communication with your defense lawyer. There are many elements of a case that need to be sorted out before anything can move forward. By giving you time for these things to develop, your defense lawyer can be fully prepared to represent your case.

Dramatic Courtroom Hearings

Some of the most dramatic scenes on television crime shows is the back and forth intensity of the courtroom. Not only do these scenes usually focus on emotional murder cases, but they are edited down to showcase the most intense moments and highlights for the viewer. In a majority of cases, your lawyer will likely try to settle out of court or even have the charges dropped. For example, if you have a clean record, your lawyer will try to seek lesser charges or dropped charges in smaller felony or misdemeanor cases. If you were arrested for a first-time drug offense, your lawyer may try to get the case thrown out or have charges dropped to misdemeanors.

If you're openly admitting to the crime, then your criminal lawyer can help you avoid the trial all together. You have the option of signing a plea agreement. These agreements can often result in lesser charges then if you were to go to trial. A defense lawyer can use pass precedent and your criminal history to help get the best plea possible.

Evidence & Speculation

A lot of television crime shows use unproven evidence and speculation to drive the narrative forward. While this makes for dramatic television, it's often stuff that is never allowed in the courtroom. Your defense team will work to eliminate rumors, non-factual evidence, and assumptions known as hearsay. As your case develops, your lawyer will work on eliminating these elements and sticking to only the facts available.

Casting a Bad Light

As shows try to kick up the drama, they often use sound clips and edited interviews that make defense lawyers look like bad people with ulterior motives. The truth is that a defense lawyer representing your case wants you to have the fairest trial possible. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and a lawyer will help eliminate any loopholes or illegal tactics used to try and unfairly corner you on the case. These lawyers are not here to condone crimes, they want you to have a fair trial and represent you as best as possible.

Post-Case Representation

As a crime show on television ends, it typically features some type of graphic focusing on sentencing and punishment. Just because the crime show ends, doesn't mean your relationship with a criminal attorney needs to end. If convicted of a crime, an attorney can represent you through sentencing, appeals, and any type of parole hearings. These defense lawyers can also help you through any civil suits or additional charges that may come up as a result of your case. You will remain a client and they often continue communication well past the end of the case.

A great way to see these misconceptions is by meeting with a defense lawyer yourself. During initial meetings, you will see their expectations and a basic course of action for your case.


24 February 2016