Presenting a criminal defense in order to refute claims of wrongdoing is a process we've pretty much all seen depicted on television shows and in movies. Sometimes they get it kind of right, but most versions of criminal defense in entertainment are brutally inaccurate. Let's take a look at some common errors depicted and what really happens.
Surprise Witnesses and Evidence
The dramatic turn of a case when some new piece of evidence or testimony is suddenly introduced into a trial is a staple of the crime genre. Nothing could be further from the truth. Modern disclosure and discovery rules require both sides to present each other with all the witnesses and evidence they intend to introduce. No one can be ambushed in court, and a lawyer trying to do so can trigger a due process complaint.
Let's Go Straight to Trial
A criminal defense case is usually a relatively slow and boring process. There will be an initial arraignment where charges are filed and bail may be offered. At several stages, the defendant will likely have to plead not guilty simply to obtain a continuance. That applies even if their eventual intention is to enter into a plea deal. In fact, the vast majority of cases are pleaded out with the defendant the prosecution entering into an agreement for reduced charges.
A Big Argument
Courts are not meant to be dramatic settings. In fact, highly argumentative behavior is explicitly prohibited and a fast track to being sanctioned by a judge. Cooler heads prevail in the lawyering profession, and it's wise for you to consider emulating your attorney's conduct.
The Army of Lawyers
On TV dramas, there's a fondness for the defendant who comes into court with a small army of lawyers. In most cases, a criminal defense is likely to be presented by one person. Likewise, the district attorney's office is apt to only send one person to argue the case. Most cases don't call for an army of lawyers, and you'd be on the hook for a lot of fees anyhow.
Only the Guilty Need Lawyers
Among the most painful things to watch on TV and in films is the number of times a defendant discusses matters without any counsel present. In fiction, only the dirtiest bad guys have attorneys there to handle questioning. In reality, you have a right to an attorney, and you should absolutely exercise it.
Contact a team like Kalasnik Law Office if you are looking for a criminal defense team.