We’re all pretty well aware that what we see on the big or little screen is not always true to the real life situations depicted. Some of the worst in spreading the truth are crime and law shows. Too often the movies and television depict legal proceedings inaccurately.
If you ever get in trouble with the law, don’t bank on what you saw on your favorite show panning out in real life. Here’s a quick look at some of the most common mistakes movies and television writers make regarding the law and its proceedings.
People get charged with things way after they happen
In most movies and television pieces featuring the law, the statute of limitations on a crime never comes into play. Unless it is a plot point, viewers aren’t typically enlightened on the statute of limitations on a crime.
When you commit a crime, there is a certain amount of time for every crime that the law has to charge you with it. When that time limit has passed, you can no longer be charged with that particular crime.
Court cases and proceedings move at lightning speed
You may have heard that you have a right to a “speedy” trial. Well, speaking of reality, that simply doesn’t happen in the United States (or anywhere else, for that matter). Some individuals sit in jails for years waiting on the conclusion of their charges.
The truth is that the “speedy trial” part of the legal system is very clearly broken. You will see a judge quickly if you are arrested, but you won’t soon be through with all of the court proceedings.
Hollywood dumbs down the whole process
Hollywood needs a formidable protagonist, so it’s not uncommon that you will see one sassy lawyer doing amazing deeds to win the case. In real life, however, this is hardly the case. If there is a huge legal proceeding, the case is often handled by a team of legal professionals.
Legal movies often feature a surprise witness that turns the tide of the trial, but that doesn’t really happen. In a big case, lawyers on both sides have to account for their evidence and all of their witnesses. It’s not a thing to just randomly bring someone into the courtroom.
Ethics are not accurately represented
You don’t really see the good lawyers highlighted in the best-selling Hollywood films. Most of the time, ethics are also used as a plot point. The truth is that most lawyers aren’t really the dirty, morally bankrupt individuals they are typically perceived to be.
Every case you see is exciting and intense
On television, you typically won’t see a boring court case as the highlight of the show. All the court proceedings we see on our screens feature a nail-biting trial that you can’t turn your eyes away from for an instant. In real life, court is pretty boring to the average person.