October 29, 2019
TV Crime Dramas: Far Different Than Preparing a Real Criminal Defense
For many people, their only insight into the courtroom is what they see on television. They therefore make the wrongful assumption that their criminal defense team should act like the lawyers on TV crime dramas. Nothing could be further truth. If you’re facing criminal charges, the only show you can compare it to is your own reality.
First, consider some interesting statistics. Did you ever realize that just about every case on Law and Order or the old CSI goes to trial? Truth be told, the prosecution does it best to settle cases before they ever make it to a judge and jury.
In Pennsylvania, some defendants qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. ARD is a supervisory program available to certain first-time offenders. On television, all convictions result in jail time. Instead, the ARD allows second chances.
You almost never see hear of someone plea bargaining on any of the popular television crime drama shows. Meanwhile, negotiating a plea to a lesser offense often acts as a valuable tool in preparing a criminal defense.
Preparing a Criminal Defense Takes Time
Take out all the commercials of your favorite television crime drama and you’re left with approximately forty-five minutes from arrest to conviction. Meanwhile, you’ll also notice that some cases go to trial on television within a matter of weeks.
Once again, reality matters. The truth is that it’s not just that preparing a criminal defense takes time. It’s that your attorney follows the guidelines set by the court. The next step after your arrest is the preliminary arraignment. From there, the judge decides on setting bail. In most cases, this is done within just a couple of days.
From there, you’ll be expected to show for a preliminary hearing. However, that’s just the beginning of the process. All the while, your defense lawyer reviews the evidence against you to determine the direction of your defense.
Meanwhile, television shows seem to make it easy for defendants to buy time in the middle of an ongoing trial. In real life, judges try to keep their calendars open and ready for the next slew of cases.
Real Life Defense Tactics Differ from TV Crime Dramas
Ever notice how many defendants on TV attempt to get off on an insanity plea? It’s not the same in real life. Make no mistake about it. For one, the fact that you may suffer from a mental illness does not mean an insanity plea is truly an option.
In real life, you’ll also find that your attorney looks into the way evidence against you is obtained. Similarly, it’s entirely possible that your confession could be ruled inadmissible by the court.
One last thing for consideration. You’ll notice a number of defendants going pro se, which means they represent themselves in court. While it might seem like something you could take on, there’s a phrase that even attorneys who represent themselves know to be true. Self-representation can amount to having a fool for a client.
If you’re facing any type of criminal charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano can help. Contact our offices to discuss the circumstances of your arrest.