Common Television Crime Show Myths


Do you watch crime shows on television? While they make for highly-entertaining stories, crime shows have also spread a lot of misinformation regarding how the criminal justice system actually works. This makes those who have been arrested for crimes unaware of important things which can lead to a lot of confusion.

Let’s examine three common myths and set the record straight.

You Get One Phone Call in Jail

This is purely a Hollywood invention. In reality, you can make as many phone calls as you need because in many cases you need to make more than one. When you have a sick relative at home who needs cared for, who will step in while you’re in custody? How are you supposed to contact a lawyer? How will you notify your family of where you are?

So long as you cooperate with authorities, you will likely be allowed to make as many calls as you need. That being said, the phone calls themselves are not a right and the authorities can take that privilege away from you should you abuse it, refuse to cooperate, or behave poorly while in custody.

DNA & Fingerprint Tests Solve Everything

TV detectives always seem to find a strand of the killer’s hair sitting there on the rug and it turns out to be the key to solving the entire case after a quick DNA. Other times they find the murder weapon and fingerprinting turns up an exact match in mere moments.

Outside of television, DNA testing has been used to solve a few cases, but it is so unbelievably difficult to find clean samples that most DNA tests turn up inconclusive. Clean fingerprints are about equally as rare.

Tests for both types of evidence can take months to find a match (if they can even find one at all), not a minute or two. But, since TV shows usually only have about an hour to tell their story, they usually have to compress the timeline a bit.

Cops Must Read Your Miranda Rights When They Arrest You

Many people will mention that they were not read their rights when they were arrested and are curious if they might be able to be released due to violation of police protocol. The reality is Miranda v. Arizona simply established the precedent that you must be informed of these rights before being questioned. Even then, if police question you regarding the crime before reading you your rights, it just makes any evidence they obtain in this way inadmissible in court. However, it is true that you do not have to answer any of their questions without an attorney present. If you wish to have one, simply ask for a phone call to contact a Denver criminal defense lawyer.

When you are arrested and charged with a crime, your time before facing your accusations in court will be limited. It is strongly advised that before answering any questions, you contact the Law Office of Joseph A. Lazzara, P.C. I am Attorney Joseph Anthony Lazzara, and I have represented those facing the criminal justice system in Colorado for the last 20+ years. My work has been recognized by clients and peers alike, which has earned me recognition as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers, and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Call my firm today at (720) 809-8262 and ask for a free consultation if you need legal assistance after you have been arrested!