Those Myths Perpetrated by TV Crime Show


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We all love crime dramas on TV. Actually, there is little not to love – in one hour, the case unfolds and is cleared up, all while justice is served. Many legal myths get their start on these dramas, and it can be hard for the viewing public to let go. Let’s clear up a few.

Detectives Do Not Analyze Evidence

Police detectives collect evidence at crime scenes, including things like:

  • Blood and other bodily fluids
  • Hairs and fibers
  • Fingerprints
  • Footprints
  • Tire tracks

Television shows often allude to these same detectives having analyzed the evidence gathered, but this is rarely the case. Most evidence in need of scientific analysis is conducted by forensic scientists who work in labs – often in different parts of the country. While this myth can help keep a police drama moving forward, it is not an accurate depiction of evidence analytics.

There Is No Mandatory Waiting Period for Reporting a Missing Person

We all know the trope that you must wait X number of hours before you can file a missing person report with the police, but this simply is not the case. In fact, the early hours after a person goes missing are generally the most crucial. The police react to every missing person report in relation to its context. For example, a child who has been missing for any length of time is obviously critical. A college student who cannot be located for several hours, however, is usually a different story – unless there is reason to suspect foul play.

DNA Can Be Misleading

If you believed all the detective dramas you watch, you would be certain that DNA is utterly foolproof, but this is not the whole truth. The fact is that DNA testing has become so accurate that it can pick up such small amounts of DNA as to sometimes be misleading. A person's DNA could be at the scene of the crime, even if the person himself or herself was never there. Studies have shown that even shaking someone's hand can land that other person's DNA on something you later touch. In other words, DNA testing is an important tool in a detective’s arsenal, but it is not always definitive proof of guilt or innocence.

Photo Enhancement Only Goes So Far

The miracle of photo enhancement on your favorite detective series is just that – a miracle of television. Most photos and other images that the police have to work with are far too low quality to be significantly enhanced in any meaningful way.

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

If you are facing criminal charges, the stakes are far too high not to consult with an experienced Killeen criminal attorney as soon as possible, and attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard is on your side. Mr. Pritchard has extensive experience successfully defending the rights of clients like you. We put our clients first, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.

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