Criminal charges of any kind can threaten your future in a myriad of ways. You might face the very real possibility of going to jail or prison, your finances might be threatened by exorbitant fines, your criminal history might make finding a job and securing housing difficult, and your reputation can be ruined. That’s a lot to put on the line, but oftentimes prosecutors who seek those penalties precariously balance their cases upon the testimony of others. Although each witness in a criminal case vows to tell the truth, the fact is that witnesses oftentimes misstate, misremember, or completely lie about material issues.
This means that as you prepare your criminal defense you need to assess how you can attack witness credibility. There are a few ways you can do this. To start, you can look to criminal histories to determine if any witnesses have criminal convictions related to untruthfulness. As an example, a witness who has been convicted for fraud is less likely to be considered reliable by a judge and jury than someone who doesn’t have a criminal record.
Another option available to you is witness impeachment. This is the process whereby you draw out inconsistencies in a witness’s testimony. In most cases, you’ll depose witnesses, which is where you take sworn testimony from them prior to trial, thereby locking them into their testimony. Then when they testify at trial you can point out any inconsistencies between their trial testimony and their deposition. This can make them look untrustworthy in the eyes of a jury.
After a deposition you can also follow up on a witness’s testimony to see if there is any other evidence that can contradict them. If there is, then you can utilize that other evidence at trial to attack the witness’s credibility.
Appropriately addressing witness credibility can make all the difference in a criminal case. As such, if you’re facing charges then you need to know how to strategically create the best criminal defense possible under the facts. Fortunately, competent criminal defense attorneys stand ready to assist you.