Crime shows are some of the most popular programs on television today. Television such as NCIS, Law and Order, and Criminal Minds are some of the highest-grossing shows in the industry. Although our crime show obsession may be successful in entertaining us, they have been less than successful in teaching us about how the criminal justice system actually works. If you are a crime show junkie, you may be surprised to learn that these four crime show cliches are almost entirely fictional:
Every Crime Scene is Scoured for Evidence
Criminal justice agencies would love to examine every crime scene thoroughly, but in reality, this just isn’t the case. Processing a crime scene is often found to be too costly and time-consuming for law enforcement agencies who already operate on thin margins and limited resources to perform. This means that many crime scenes either receive just a quick comb-through or are eliminated from processing entirely.
Commonality of Irrefutable Evidence
It never seems to take long for someone to come across a perfect, non-smudged fingerprint or strand of hair that sparks a comprehensive investigation into a suspect on TV. In actual crime scenes, coming across evidence of this caliber is extremely rare and can take days to even find. Often, the evidence that is recovered from the scene doesn’t amount to much. Since the largest DNA database is limited to previous offenders, first-time offenders cannot even be identified in this way. Fingerprints matches are also subjective, and it has never been proven that all fingerprints are unique.
Detectives Analyze Evidence
Pop culture often blurs the line between the roles of detectives and forensic scientists. It is not uncommon to see a detective craning over a scientist’s shoulder to study evidence under a microscope when watching crime shows. In reality, this would be a conflict of interest, so investigators gather evidence and send it to a lab where it can take months to analyze. Crime labs are often very busy, so once their work is done, they send the results back to the investigators and move on to the next case. Forensic scientists very rarely even get to find out the results of the cases they work on.
Suspects Are Only Allowed One Phone Call
When watching TV, how many times have you seen a suspect be tossed in jail and told that they are only allowed a single phone call to the outside world? This is a common trope that doesn’t actually hold up in the real world. What if you call someone who doesn’t answer? If you choose to call a lawyer, how would you arrange to have your child or pet cared for? Many people need more than a single phone call, so suspects are actually allowed to have as many phone calls as they need. However, phone calls are not a right, and if they suspect you’re abusing the privilege, they will take it away.
Arrested in Jupiter, Florida? Make Sure You Call a Reliable Criminal Defense Attorney
Now that we have squashed the myth that suspects are only allowed one phone call, make sure one of your calls is to The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel. Attorney Brian Gabriel has represented criminal defendants in the West Palm Beach area since 1995. Over that time, he has represented thousands of clients and helped them achieve the best possible results for their cases. Call (561) 622-5575 for a free consultation or complete a contact form.