Witness credibility could be key to your criminal defense

Regardless of the type of criminal charges your facing, the prosecution has witnesses lined up to testify against you. This means that if you don’t take a plea deal and instead opt for trial, then the judge or jury is going to hear those witnesses and determine for themselves if that testimony is reliable. If they find that it is, then the likelihood that you’ll be convicted might be increased. That’s why you can just rely on your defense story. You also need to be prepared to attack every aspect of the prosecution’s case, including their witness’s credibility.

How to attack witness credibility

Attacking witness credibility is a vital component of your criminal defense. There are a variety of ways to do that, too. Here are just a few of them:

  • Prior inconsistent statements: This is a classic mode of attacking witness credibility, often referred to as impeachment. Here, you lock in a witnesses story, usually through a deposition, and then use those prior statements to show inconsistencies with their trial testimony. This tactic tells the judge or jury that this individual can’t be trusted to keep his or her story straight.
  • Bias and motive: In a lot of instances, the witness is either biased against the defendant in some way, or he or she has a motivation to testify against the defendant. For example, a police officer might have a history of racial discrimination or a witness might have been offered a favorable plea deal in exchange for their testimony. The jury should be made aware of these biases in motives so that they know to take these witness’s testimony with a grain of salt.
  • Criminal history: Not all criminal history is relevant to a witness’s testimony, but there might be circumstances where you can use prior criminal convictions to show that a witness has a character for lying. Convictions for crimes such as fraud and forgery are often the most helpful here.

Know how to build your case

Building your defense and preparing to attack every part of the prosecution’s case takes time, diligence, and a deep understanding of the law. There’s simply too much at stake to leave that to an unqualified criminal defense attorney. That’s why if you want to know how to build your case as strongly as possible, then you’ll probably want to seek out advocacy from someone who is well versed in this area of the law and who has a track record of success.


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