Learning about the Law from TV

Mon, Oct 27, 2014

General Legal Issues

Some rights reserved by apdkAmerica can’t get enough of crime and legal dramas. They have become more and more popular over time, and more and more realistic. Of course, they are “dramas” so they might need to be taken with a grain of salt—but a lot of America’s legal knowledge comes from them, right or wrong.

Some of the early television shows of this type were over dramatized to be sure, and sometimes they sacrificed accuracy for the drama. However, over time America has demanded drama that is more accurate. Even though the writers usually throw in some personal relationship drama and some questionable decisions and procedures, the basic facts have become a little more accurate.

Actually, many Americans have learned more truth about their legal rights from TV than any other source. For example, we know we have the right to remain silent and to ask for a lawyer. We know that what we say can be used against us—and where else would a lot of Americans learn this?

TV crime and legal dramas do affect watchers’ expectations: we think that police are going to break out fancy equipment and solve a crime in two days. Some Americans might think that suing someone is going to be glamorous and allow us to have a fancy wardrobe during the proceedings. Alternatively, they think that their lawyer will always be able to get them off the hook with some hard work and enough money. And sometimes we think we might be able to explain ourselves out of a situation with some fancy talking—when that fancy talking might get us into more trouble.

What they don’t show on TV is that many legal proceedings are pretty boring, unglamorous and quite drawn out. Or that you might never see a courtroom, and instead mediate and have your lawyer do all the talking.

A good, realistic legal show will show you that a good lawyer is key and that the police don’t always have the final authority, and that who you know might be very important.

So, then you might need to turn the channel to a reality police show…because there you can see that the outcome of a criminal offense will be largely dependent on your attitude, good luck and the law enforcement officer you encounter.

Having good legal representation is key, along with a lot of patience and realistic expectations. Some good funds are also probably going to be important too. The outcome might not be what you want, and you might not be able to appeal it three different times.

And mostly, you have to remember that while TV shows can teach you a lot about your legal rights, they aren’t always accurate for your state or your situation. You have to rely on sound legal advice for that. That’s why it is important to seek an attorney with a positive reputation and not wait until it’s too late. Finding a legal firm that can represent many types of cases, like SmithLaw, can be a real boon to your legal health.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith, Sr. is designated a Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer by the American Board of Certification.  SmithLaw is located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.  Attorney Smith concentrates on bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area.  Call 941-202-2222 to learn more.  SmithLaw offers free consultations in certain areas, including consumer bankruptcy, probate, and personal injury matters.

Image: Some rights reserved by apdk

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