Regardless of what kind of criminal charges you’re facing, the chances are high that the prosecution will have key witnesses lined up to testify against you. You might find that incredibly stressful, especially if you know what those witnesses are going to say. Yet, a witness’s testimony is only as strong as the weight given to it by a judge or jury. This means that you have the opportunity to try to reduce the weight given to any particular witness’s testimony.
Attacking witness credibility
One effective way of doing is this is by attacking a witness’s credibility. You can achieve this in a number of ways. Here are just a few of them:
- Point out inconsistent statements: This is often referred to as impeachment. Here, you have the witness testify and then point out previous statements that the witness made that are contradictory or inconsistent. This is often done by taking a deposition of the witness prior to trial which is merely the process of taking sworn testimony prior to trial. Strong impeachment tells a jury that the witness can’t be trusted.
- Bias and motive: Some witnesses have a motive to testify for the prosecution. This is often seen with alleged accomplices who have accepted a plea bargain or received immunity in exchange for their testimony. Pointing out this fact, as well as any biases such as those pertaining to race, can play a big part in your case.
- Criminal history: Not all criminal history is relevant, but a witness might have a criminal record that speaks volumes as to his or her truthfulness. Pointing out this criminal history can minimize the effect of a witness’s testimony.
Take a holistic approach to your criminal defense
Attacking witness credibility is just one part of an effective criminal defense. But you need an approach to your criminal defense that gives you every opportunity possible to reach the outcome you deserve. A criminal defense attorney might be able to help you gather the evidence and devise the strategy that best supports your position.