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Witness credibility can make or break your criminal defense

Criminal trials often involve witness testimony. A common defense strategy is to investigate the credibility of the witness. It can help your case if you can establish that the witness is not trustworthy.

How can you attack witness credibility?

Knowing how to question the credibility of the witnesses may be a crucial part of your criminal defense. Here are the things you need to watch out for:

  • Impeachment: This strategy involves watching for prior inconsistent statements. One way the defense team can achieve this is by double checking a deposition for the witness’ story and using prior statements to establish inconsistency with the trial testimony. If successful, it tells the judge and/or the jury that the witness is unable to keep their story straight and may raise trust issues.
  • Bias and motive: It may be possible for the witness to have some bias against you one way or another or may have a motivation to testify against you. The jury needs to be aware of these biases in motives so that they know to take the witness’ testimony with reservations.
  • Criminal history: While not all criminal history may be relevant to a witness’ testimony, there might be cases where prior convictions can establish that the witness has a propensity for lying. This is especially true if they have convictions for crimes such as fraud and forgery.

It is important to take time time and be diligent in preparing a defense. This will include a need to review every possible part of the prosecution’s case. It also helps to have a deep understanding of criminal defense to aid in your case.