If you have faced criminal charges in the past, you probably know that the media can have a huge impact on how the rest of society views people accused of a crime. Social punishments could begin as soon as allegations become public, even if the courts have yet to reach a decision.
Opinions about crime can change dramatically after media coverage. Within the discussion of mass shootings, for example, the media has a lot to say. As a TIME article points out, the man responsible for open firing in a Texas church had been charged with domestic violence in the past. Researchers from a gun-control group believe that those who confront domestic assault charges could be more likely to become mass shooters themselves.
The danger is when this idea might lead to undeserved, severe punishments for domestic violence. While it is important to consider data that could prevent crime, the connection between domestic violence and mass shootings does not have enough evidence to be a fact.
However, judges and juries are human and, therefore, fallible. Bias from the news or otherwise can create harsher penalties for some people and crimes than for others. Even if the notion of a “gateway crime” may seem possible to some people, a court should not punish you excessively or outside of what the law allows.
This is why legal representation in a domestic violence case is so vital. An experienced criminal defense attorney can protect your rights to make sure that the court remains fair. They can also check the potential for any bias that could creep into your case.