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7 Legal Lessons You Must Learn from Crime-Time TV

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As surprising as it sounds, the TV shows we watch where law is the main theme or even a sub-theme might have a thing or two to teach us about the real world. This is because even though these TV shows might use unrealistically good looking actors to play real-life legal roles, the plots of the shows are dedicated to be as realistic as possible. Each one of us watches these shows simply for the drama and the cunning wit in the dialogue but the truth is that if ever, we find ourselves at a police precinct freaking out trying to remember our alibis and trying to think the situation through, the TV legal system has a lot to teach us.

Every year, there is some legal show coming out with a new season and even though we don’t pay attention, there are many nitty-gritty technical details in each story line that can give us new insights regarding how to deal with real-life criminal situations. Following are just some of the things people can learn from these shows:

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• Never ever get physical during a police arrest or during a confrontation with a detective or police officer. Even though you might think you can punch some sense into the guy, just keep your hands off them at all times and it is a good idea to tone down the aggression.

• The Miranda rights that are read out to every person who has been arrested need to be given some merit. When they say ‘You have the right to remain silent’, you really do, so keep your mouth shut and don’t answer any question that you don’t have to.

• At the police precinct, don’t drink or eat anything you have been offered and if you do, don’t leave your finger prints on them because the police will definitely use them later on.

• In many TV shows (and real life), the landlords are often the first ones to rat out their tenant’s lives and personal details to the cops. So maintain a professional relation with your landlord as much as possible.

• TV shows also have a lot of advice for the law enforcement agencies and the first one is to respect the crime scene no matter what. Many police officers and even detectives spread their ungloved hands all over the place, adding their DNA to the collection of prints, hairs, fibers and random deposits of DNA.

• Sticking close to your buddy is another good advice because just like on TV, bad things can happen to good cops. Especially when you decide to split up during potentially dangerous missions following the criminal’s footsteps, make sure you have a partner to watch your back.

• Talking to a suspect often requires some tact and many shows have police officers playing the ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine and often getting near the suspect’s face helps to intimidate them enough to tell the truth. But never get too personal with the suspect because then sympathies flow naturally that can harm the good judgment of a police officer.

• It is highly important to listen to your lawyer especially after you have gone through the hassle of getting one. These people truly have a lot of experience with all sorts of criminal arrests and proceedings and if they do utter the infamous statement, ‘Don’t answer that’, you should do well to pay them heed. Everything you might say in police custody can be used against you in court and even though the probing question might seem harmless, the lawyer will often have the insight of determining exactly how harmless or harmful the question can prove for you.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.


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