Despite what you might have learned from the popular TV show “How to Get Away With Murder”, the field of criminal law is completely different than what people expect it to be. In fact, there is a wide range of misconceptions about it, all of which have nothing to do with how things actually work.
So, if you’re thinking about becoming a criminal defense lawyer or if you’re simply interested in learning more things about this particular practice, you might be wondering – are there some things that I don’t know about criminal law? Simply said, there are, and this is exactly what we’ll discuss today. Let’s take a closer look at what you probably don’t know about criminal law:
1. Criminal Defense Lawyers Must Be Rational And Objective
A lot of people would ask a lawyer working in this field – how can you work with individuals that have been charged with different crimes such as murder? Well, most of them would probably answer that it’s their job to provide help and assistance to someone who needs it. This means that no matter what crime the individual is charged with, they must put their personal feelings aside, mostly because it should never affect the representation provided, meaning that they must be rational and objective.
2. People Have a Constitutional Right to Be Represented
The Constitution clearly states that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused has the right to be legally represented. Hence, if you or anyone else that you know was charged with something, then you and they have a constitutional right to have a lawyer represent you in court. Now, keep in mind, if someone cannot pay for the lawyer, the state will probably assign one to you, which means that you’ll still have an attorney that will do everything in their power to help you with your case.
3. The Jury is Always Well-Researched
You might not realize this, but a lot of cases can be and are settled even before the trial starts. If they do end up on trial, it most commonly happens in the presence of a jury. Before the trial takes place – as well as during – the attorney will probably do some digging on each of the jury members. In some instances, a juror might have lied during the jury selection, something that could easily affect their capability of reaching a proper verdict. This is why the jurors must be unbiased at all times.
4. The Body Language is The Key
According to the expert Aswani Datt, lawyers, their assistants, and other people working on a particular case usually read the jurors during the opening statements of both sides, as well as the testimony, and closing statements. By observing how the jury reacts to certain things such as eyewitness testimony or a piece of presented evidence, a lawyer can determine whether a particular argument is functioning or not.
There is a wide range of cues that attorneys pick up during the trials. For instance, if one of the jury members nods their heads when they agree with something that was said, but frown or gasp when they disagree, a lawyer can determine what their next step should be. This is why observing body language is one of the most important things any attorney should do, especially since it can allow them to steer the trial in the right direction.
5. The Clients Are Instructed to Stay Silent
Of course, everyone knows the famous line ‘everything that you say can and will be used against you in the court of law’. However, you should know that this line doesn’t only apply when someone is in custody or gets arrested. It needs to apply to other individuals as well, which means that the person charged shouldn’t tell their family members or friends about their case, mostly because it is a massive mistake, one that can cause a lot of negative consequences and it can easily break your case.
6. The ‘Impossible’ Cases Are Useful For The Lawyers
As we already mentioned, every single client and case is important for any lawyer, however, there are the so-called ‘impossible’ or ‘can’t-win’ cases. What are these? Well, basically, they are cases that cannot be won in court. But, attorneys tend to accept these cases, mostly because they allow them to utilize their knowledge, skills, and experience to the maximum. Additionally, it allows them to entirely try to help someone who needs their assistance.
7. The Opinions of The Public Are Important
Besides the judge, it is quite possible that other people, including the jury involved in a particular trial, get influenced by the information in the news. Generally speaking, the public always frowns upon specific crimes committed by someone more than other cases that they might hear about in the news. Attorneys are well aware of this, which is why they often try and use it to their advantage when building a case.
8. The Lawyers Cannot Tell If Someone Confessed to a Crime
You probably know that all communication between a legal representative and their clients must remain confidential, under all circumstances and in all situations. The attorney cannot reveal anything that their client told them, and under no circumstances can they reveal anything their client said. In fact, if you do some digging online, you’ll learn that all attorneys, no matter what field they operate in are prohibited from revealing anything their client said. The only time they can say anything is if their client instructed them to reveal it to other people.
As you were able to read, there are various things that are unknown about the field of criminal law. From the fact that lawyers read the body language of the jury members, to the fact that they tell their clients to stay silent about their case, it’s much more daunting and complex than you initially might have thought.
So, now that you’re aware of all the interesting facts revolving around the field of criminal law, you shouldn’t lose any more of your time. Instead, open up your browser, and start searching for some other interesting facts revolving around the entire criminal justice system and attorneys.