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Real Life Criminal Court is Different than Television Dramas

Posted by Arthur R. Frost | Sep 02, 2018 | 0 Comments

The fact of the matter is, most cases settle before trial. However, some cases do in fact go to trial before a judge or a jury. When this happens, there are a few things you should know before the trial starts.

1. Communication Cautions

Trials don't happen in real life the way they do on television. Trial communication is a complicated thing. Attorney-client privilege only applies in private, and courtrooms are not private. Talking involves the risk of someone overhearing – or thinking they have accurately overheard a conversation. If you feel the need to communicate with your lawyer during trial, write down your communication. Be cautious about the position of your notepad. Depending on the courtroom, the jurors may be able to see your notes.

2. Time Moves Slowly

No one would want to watch a television drama with a 20-minute delay while the lawyers wait for a juror who is late returning from lunch, or a one and a half hour break while the lawyers do research. However, in real life, trials often happen in fits and starts. If a legal issue comes up, there may be a delay in the trial. Your lawyer may be required to meet with the judge in chambers for a discussion or the trial may be delayed until the matter is resolved. Any number of things could happen.

3. You Won't Know the Participants

In a television drama, the judge, the other attorney, and the jurors are clearly identified to the viewer. In real life, you won't know who might be on your jury before the trial starts. You may not recognize the judge. The judge's clerk, the court reporter, the bailiff, all of these people may observe you and your conduct before you know who they are. As such, it is important to conduct yourself professionally and respectfully from the time you drive into the courthouse parking lot until the time you leave.

If You Have a Legal Issue

At Frost & Kavanaugh, we pride ourselves in our litigation abilities. We work in the areas of criminal defense, divorce and family law, personal injury, and general practice. Any one of these areas of the law may result in a trial. Let us be an advocate for you. Contact the office of Frost & Kavanaugh for a free consultation to discuss your case. We look forward to working with you.

About the Author

Arthur R. Frost

Art graduated from Thomas More College in Merrimack, NH in 1991 with a B.A. in Philosophy, and graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, WA in 1995. He was admitted to practice in all New York State Courts and the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York in 1996. He w...

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