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Attacking witness credibility might be your best defense

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, the prosecution is going to utilize witness testimony against you. This testimony may come from police officers, eyewitnesses, and confidants. It can be powerful tool in the prosecution’s pursuit of conviction, and credible testimony can have enormous sway over a jury. But the key word there is “credible.” If you can find a way to attack a witnesses credibility, then you can throw their testimony into doubt, thereby increasing your chances of raising reasonable doubt as to your guilt.

Attacking a witness’s credibility isn’t as easy as television makes it seem. It’s usually not something that you can simply wing at trial. Instead, you need to put in a lot of preparation so that you know each witness’s weaknesses and how to exploit them to your advantage. So how do you put in the legwork on the front end so that you’re prepared to appropriately address witness credibility?

There are a number of ways. One of the most common is to take thorough depositions. This is the process of taking sworn testimony outside of court prior to trial. Depositions not only allow you to gather additional information that can help you identify the prosecution’s strategy and further your defense, but it can also lock in a witness’s testimony. This way if the witness say something contradictory on the witness stand, you can utilize the deposition to paint them as an unreliable witness.

Another option is to utilize a witness’s criminal history, especially if there was a conviction related to a crime of dishonesty, such as forgery or fraud. You’ll need to be careful here, though, because there are strict limitations on how criminal history can be used against a witness.

You might have other avenues open to you, but what is important to understand is that there are criminal defense strategies that you can use to better protect yourself throughout these matters. If you wan to know more about how to aggressively address your set of circumstances, then it might be time to discuss the matter with a criminal defense attorney who is results-driven.



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