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Don’t underestimate the value of witness credibility

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2021 | Criminal law

There are a lot of ways that prosecutors can build a case against you. Sometimes they have hard physical evidence to support the charges thrust upon, but in other situations their case is mostly circumstantial in nature. Regardless of which type of case you’re facing, one thing is for sure: there will be witnesses testifying against you. While that might sound scary, the truth of the matter is that judges and juries have wide discretion to give witness testimony the amount of weight they think it deserves. Therefore, simply because a witness says they saw you commit a crime doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be convicted, especially if you’re able to attack witness credibility.

Witnesses are not created equal. Some have bias while others have a history of untruthfulness. Some witnesses are even known to have given conflicting statements about the facts at hand. This is true of jail inmates who claim to have overheard a confession and police officers who have a history of brutality. Therefore, if you’re able to draw out facts that attack a witness’s credibility, then you might convince a judge or jury to disbelieve that witness, even if he or she is an expert.

How do you attack witness credibility? There are a few things you can do. To start, you should thoroughly research the witnesses in your case so that you’re familiar with their history of being truthful. Convictions for fraud and identity theft, for example, can be crucial to attacking a witness’s credibility.

There are a lot strategic elements you need to consider when crafting your criminal defense, but you certainly shouldn’t overlook witness credibility. You need to be prepared to attack harmful witnesses while at the same time protecting those who support your side of the story. Fortunately, skilled criminal defense attorneys can help you develop a strategy that is right for you in your unique set of circumstances.