Whether you plan to get into criminal trouble or not, you've likely watched your fair share of popular television crime shows. Because they're fictionalized, you may already expect that some of the details are less than truthful. However, there are some details about the criminal system that seem like they could be real but aren't. For instance, the four details below shouldn't be thought of as true.
Representing Yourself is Easy
In some shows, people will decide that they're going to represent themselves in their criminal trial. On a show, this choice seems simplistic and based on the personality of the person involved. However, in real life, it's not so easy to be granted the right to represent yourself. Even if your request is granted, you could be making a catastrophic mistake by forgoing the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Questioning others is a skill that you might not master in time for your trial, and if you're convicted, lack of knowledge about sentencing and appeals could make your situation even worse. If you should ever be in such a predicament, give yourself the protection of a lawyer so that you have a better chance of avoiding the most severe punishments.
Destroying Evidence Helps Avoid Arrests
In many shows, you'll see criminals dumping the evidence of their crimes in rivers, oceans, potholes, and other locations. The thinking is that an arrest cannot be made without certain evidence being physically located. This couldn't be more false. Police are given freedom in such cases; if you are seen as related to a crime, even if they can't find the so-called "smoking gun", they will still bring you in and could still book you for a series of crimes.
Arrests Can Be Tossed Out
So many television episodes feature criminals who are almost about to find themselves being held over for trial, only to discover that arresting police officials made a minor mistake during the arrest process that gets them released. This is something that is very unlikely. While a criminal defense attorney can petition to have any answers to questions struck from the legal record, it isn't true that you'll be able to walk the streets if the arrest didn't go exactly by the book.
Bail Happens Quickly
On television, criminals are arrested and released with bail within about five minutes, or the equivalent of a day. However, getting bail bonds is something that requires someone to complete an application and processing by the facility is done. All of those things take time. Should you ever be arrested, realize that you could be in jail for days before your attorney or a bail bondsman arranges your release.
Contact a criminal defense lawyer if you have more questions about how the legal system will actually work for you.