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Popular Television Show Crime Myths

Popular Television Show Crime Myths

Do you like crime and police dramas on television? A lot of people do, and for good reason—they’re usually highly entertaining and tell a great story. However, it’s important to recognize one important thing: they’re TV shows, and lots of the investigation techniques and technology they show you are slight fabrications or even blatantly untrue representations of how criminal investigations work. Let’s take a look at a few common myths you’ll see in the latest episodes of CSI or Bones.

Investigation Timeline

A criminal investigation can take days, weeks, months, or even years in extreme cases. Crime scenes must be thoroughly investigated for evidence, and testing for things such as DNA or fingerprints can be a painstaking process that stretches out over weeks, and even then most likely won’t turn up a favorable result. However, because television shows don’t usually have weeks to play out, the timeline of an investigation in an episode is usually ultra-compressed to get to the end of the case before the hour is up.

DNA and Fingerprints Solve Everything Instantly

Television shows frequently portray the collection of fingerprints and DNA as a vital part of the initial crime scene investigation. While it’s true that these techniques are used, the odds of finding a clean fingerprint or bit of DNA that can be immediately identified as the killer’s is close to zero. Likewise, the computer the FBI uses doesn’t take a few seconds to pick out an exact match—more like a few months when you consider there are more than 65 million prints it must search through.

Eyewitness Testimony

Have you ever noticed that the witnesses or persons of interest who are questioned in crime shows seem to remember everything very clearly? Do you remember exactly where everything sat on your plate during dinner yesterday? Exactly. The reality facing police is that they can get a lot of eye witness statements, but most of them won’t remember much. This can make piecing together what happened via testimony a long and painfully arduous process that may not even yield any important information.

One Phone Call

The commonly-seen rule of an arrested individual getting one phone call is purely a Hollywood invention and has never been an official rule anywhere. It is well within the right of the police to treat phone calls as privileges and they are more than authorized to take that privilege away from misbehaving detainees. However, you are often allowed several phone calls, as you may need to reach out to your family or a loved one to take care of things that may be urgent (such as bringing medication to a relative in need). Also, how else are you supposed to contact a lawyer?

When you are facing accusations of a crime, it is important to seek representation and legal counsel from a skilled Buffalo criminal defense attorney. The Rossi Law Firm has represented clients against a wide variety of criminal charges. Our top-rated attorneys have earned accolades such as Super Lawyers honors, a 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo, and an AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Call The Rossi Law Firm today at (716) 951-5040 or contact us online and schedule a consultation with our team!