How Accurate Are Depictions of Criminal Law?


The judge bangs the gavel while crying for order in the court. People are sobbing. Camera flashes are going off and the local media is reporting on the outcome of the trial. These are all things that we picture in our minds easily. For many of us, this is our idea of what a court of law looks like. The vast majority of people out there have likely never attended a trial. As a matter of fact, for most, a trip to the court for a traffic violation is as far as it goes.

But with so many depictions of trials in both television and on film, it’s inevitable that the majority of people would have a certain image in their heads. That’s why in today’s blog, we’d like to take a look at how accurate the depictions of criminal law proceedings are in the media. As experienced white collar crime lawyers, you can count on us to help you separate fact from fiction. Keep reading to learn more!

Courtrooms on Television and Film

What’s the first thing you think of when you picture law proceedings on television? There’s a good chance that it’s Law and Order, or one of the show’s many offshoots (such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Law & Order: Los Angeles, or Law & Order True Crime).

For others, it’s the depiction of courtroom drama as Daredevil’s Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson go to battle for their clients.

Others still might picture Barry Zuckercorn or Bob Loblaw from Arrested Development, or the episodes featuring Mock Trial with J. Reinhold (featuring William Hung and the Hung Jury).

If you’ve ever been at home in the middle of the day, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen Judge Judy or The People’s Court or reruns of Matlock and Night Court.

The point is that there have been countless adaptations of what it’s like to experience a trial over the years. As with anything in life, the depictions range from being fairly accurate to incredibly ludicrous.

The same is true of the many films that depict the drama that occurs in a courtroom. Movies like 12 Angry Men, My Cousin Vinny, Primal Fear, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Few Good Men, Runaway Jury, The Firm, and others show the inner workings of courtrooms as well as the lawyers, jury members, judges, and clients that exist within the story. In some instances, the films are true to what might actually happen in a court of law (although they are dramaticized a fair bit) and others are quite a bit more farcical.

At the end of the day, it’s safe to say that in most instances, an actual trial will differ from what you’ve seen in the media. In some instances, the difference is significant and in others it is minimal.

Are You In Need of a Criminal Lawyer in the Newark Area?

At the Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot, you can count on us to walk you through your own situation at every step of the way. If you’ve been accused of a crime and you’re looking for help, look no further.

With nearly five decades of experience, Robert J. DeGroot has successfully defended clients for everything from mortgage fraud to tax evasion and more. Regardless of what you’re up against, you can rest assured that when you put your trust in us, we will fight tenaciously to defend your rights and do our best to make sure that you get a fair trial.

No matter the situation, we can help. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.