Regardless of the criminal charges you’re facing, there’s a lot riding on your criminal defense. An inadequate one can leave you at risk of facing severe penalties that might include prison time, fines, and a criminal record that can have a profound impact on your life moving forward. That’s why you need to do everything you can to attack the prosecution’s case. There are a variety of ways to approach this issue, but this week we want to focus on one particular matter: witness credibility.
The power of witness credibility
A lot of criminal cases are built on the testimony of others. Yet, sometimes the judge and jury are presented with conflicting testimony. In these circumstances, and even when there isn’t conflicting testimony, the judge or jury has to afford that testimony some sort of weight. This is where the power of witness credibility comes into play. Witnesses who are deemed credible can tip the scales one way or another, for sure, but so, too, can witnesses whose testimony is found not credible. Therefore, addressing witness credibility could mean the difference between conviction and acquittal.
Attacking witness credibility
Since the burden of proof rests with the prosecution, it’s important that you’re prepared to attack the credibility of their witnesses. One way to do so is to address biases. An officer with a questionable history or a witness who has been promised immunity or a plea deal can be attacked on those bases. Another option is to draw attention to certain criminal history that is indicative of untruthfulness, such as fraud or forgery. You might also be able to catch witnesses with inconsistent statements or flat out lying on the stand, which can destroy their credibility.
Strong preparation makes for strong litigation
In order to appropriately address witness credibility, you need to thoroughly prepare your case. Digging into witness’s histories, conducting depositions, and anticipating testimony can all give you a leg up should your case wind up going to trial. There’s a lot of legal skill that’s needed to properly handle these matters and to protect your future as best as possible, which is why many people who are facing charges choose to turn to an experienced criminal defense attorney for help.