Regardless of the type of criminal charges that you’re facing, the chances are pretty good that the prosecution has a number of witnesses lined up to testify against you should your case end up going to trial. That can be a daunting prospect, especially given the high stakes involved. But you shouldn’t let a prosecutor’s proposed witness list scare you into a plea agreement before first thoroughly assessing those witnesses and their potential testimony. After all, there might be criminal defense strategies that you can utilize to attack those witnesses and diminish the amount of weight that the judge or jury gives to their testimony.
Ways to attack witness credibility
Attacking witness credibility is a key strategy to any strong criminal defense. There are a number of ways to go about attacking credibility, too. One of the most common ways is through the use of depositions to point out prior inconsistent statements. Here, sworn testimony is taken outside of court and before trial. You’ll be provided with a record of that testimony that you can then use if the witness’s story changes when he or she testifies in court. This can illustrate to the judge and jury that the witness can’t be trusted to tell the truth.
Another option may be to point out biases or motives. This is often seen in cases where an alleged accomplice is given a favorable plea deal in exchange for testimony. In some instances prior police officer misconduct may also be used to show racial bias and other discriminatory behavior that could shade his or her testimony.
Prior criminal history can be relevant to a witness’s credibility, too. Not all criminal history is admissible, though, so you’ll have to know the law here and use some discretion.
Secure the assistance you need to competently defend yourself
We know that facing criminal charges can be frightening, especially when the penalties are severe. Use that fear to motivate you to create the best criminal defense possible. You need to be thorough and aggressive, which requires knowledge of the law and the ability to be persuasive. Fortunately, skilled criminal defense attorneys stand ready to assist you in building the legal strategy that you need to protect yourself as fully as possible under the facts.