Why witness credibility may be key to your case

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

There are a lot of differing criminal defense strategies that you can use in your case to try to beat the prosecution and obtain an acquittal. A lot of times you can take multiple approaches, too, which gives you even more opportunity to attack the prosecution’s case. However, your legal arguments need to be well-thought out if you want to maximize their impact. That’s why before heading to trial, you might want to have a strong criminal defense advocate by your side.

One area where your attorney may be able to help you is with attacking witness credibility.

Why witness credibility matters

 Depending on whether your case is headed toward a bench trial or a jury trial, the judge or jury is going to listen to witness testimony and determine how reliable it is and how much weight it’s going to carry when making a final determination as to your guilt. Therefore, how a witness presents on the stand can be just as important as what they say. When dealing with the prosecution’s witnesses, it’s a good idea to figure out how you can attack their credibility.

Ways that you can attack credibility and reliability

 Fortunately, there are a lot of ways that you can go about addressing a witness’s credibility and reliability. Let’s look at some of your options here:

  • Prior criminal history: Although you can’t use all criminal history against a witness, you’ll probably be able to use any history of criminal activity involving dishonesty. This means that if the witness has a prior conviction for fraud, then you’ll likely be able to use that history to draw the witness’s reliability into question.
  • Inconsistent statements: You should depose the prosecution’s witnesses prior to trial. By doing so, you can lock them into their statements so that you can use their depositional testimony against them if you need to. You do this by pointing out inconsistencies between their depositional testimony and their in-court testimony, which can portray the witness as unreliable.
  • Bias: The prosecution’s witness might be biased against you. This could be based on your existing relationship with the witness or an officer’s disdain for people of a certain race. Either way, you need to be able to point out these biases so that the jury understands why the witness might want to testify against you.
  • Motivation: The witness who is testifying against you may be motivated to do so. This is especially true if someone else was accused of having taken part in the commission of the crime and then they are offered a plea deal in exchange for their testimony. The decider of fact needs to be aware of this potential motivation.

There may be other ways to attack a witness’s credibility. You just have to be on your toes during trial to be able to identify any issues and draw them out appropriately.

Are you ready to build an aggressive criminal defense?

 A poorly managed criminal defense can leave your future and your freedom at risk. You don’t want that to happen, which is why now is the time to start thinking about what you can do to build your criminal defense. The good news is that an attorney who is adept in these matters can help you assess your options and figure out how to develop the best legal strategy aimed at beating the prosecution.

If you think that you could benefit from having an aggressive advocate on your side, now is the time for you to research your representation options and reach out to those who interest you most.