Three Ways the Court System Differs From Crime Shows

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A number of articles have been written on the “CSI Effect”, which refers to the way crime shows and forensic dramas have shifted the public’s perception of what to expect in a real-life court case. While it may sound like an intriguing sociological theory, many people in the criminal justice and legal field claim that it has a serious impact on their work: for example, many jury members have reportedly come to expect forensic or scientific data to be presented in a trial, even when it may not be required.

Some studies have contradicted the existence of the “CSI Effect”, but it can’t be denied that popular culture can often muddle our understanding. For instance, if you watch detective dramas or criminal investigation shows, you may be more likely to understand legal terms like “subpoena” or have some basic knowledge of the Exclusionary Rule. However, when it comes to a real-life court case, the ways the court system is dramatized can easily make you feel out of your depth, whether you’re handling a family law case with a divorce attorney or fighting charges with a criminal defense attorney. What should you know before you’re beginning an actual court case instead of just starting a new episode?

Evidence Isn’t Always Found in a Lab
While almost every detective show will feature a scene with a white-coated technician explaining a pivotal discovery, your court case is more likely to involve witness testimony and a significant amount of paperwork. This is especially true if you are handling legal affairs that are more likely to involve a divorce law firm, drunk driving attorneys or traffic violations lawyer, where most of the court sessions will focus on income, officer statements, or stills taken from traffic cams. And even if you about to begin a criminal trial, you will probably notice that your criminal defense attorney spends more time handling court documents than searching for fingerprints.

“Lawyering Up” Is the Norm, and Confessions Are Rare
On a crime show, asking for a lawyer is often seen as a sign that a suspect has something to hide by the determined detectives. These same detectives will usually be proven right when the perpetrator breaks down and confesses to the crime. In the real world, however, your right to a lawyer is a right assured by the U.S. Constitution to both the guilty and the innocent. If you are involved in any form of legal difficulty, it is typically advised that you hire a lawyer, whether you need a divorce lawyer or a criminal defense attorney, to help you handle the situation. And don’t expect any dramatic confessions: while they do happen, most cases conclude with negotiations or plea bargains.

Attorneys Are More Than Good Or Evil
Television often depicts lawyers as either a paragon of justice or manipulative crooks. Additionally, this defining character trait that often depends on which side of the case they are on. In truth, prosecutors can make morally gray choices and defense attorneys can be pillars of their community; their career choice often has very little to do with the content of their character or their identity as a person.

Whether or not the “CSI Effect” is real, the fact remains that navigating the justice system is a difficult task, and added misinformation most likely doesn’t help. For this reason, no one should have to go through it alone, whether they need a criminal defense attorney or simply some help contesting a traffic ticket. Contact a law firm today to discuss obtaining representation. For more about this, go here.

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