When you’re charged with a criminal offense, the prosecution is probably hinging a lot of its case on the strength of witness testimony. Someone may claim they saw you commit the act in question, or a witness might provide testimony demonstrating that you possessed the requisite intent for the prosecution to obtain a conviction.
However, witness testimony can be unreliable. As such, you shouldn’t let the judge and jury accept the word of questionable witnesses. Fortunately, you can act to highlight issues with problematic testimony, thereby reducing the chances that you’ll be convicted on faulty testimony.
How to attack witness credibility
The burden is on you to show that a witness isn’t to be trusted. There are several ways to accomplish this, including the following:
- Point out inconsistent statements, which may include statements made under oath during a deposition or during police interviews.
- Highlight any motivations that the witness has to testify against you, whether that be personal animosity toward you or a plea deal that was offered to them in exchange for testimony.
- Demonstrate that the witness has prior criminal convictions for offenses related to lack of honesty.
- Draw out misunderstandings or poor recollection of key evidence during in-court testimony.
- Show that the witness is biased against you for some reason.
Addressing witness credibility can be hard to accomplish on the fly. That’s why you need to be prepared with a plan to point out issues with witness testimony before heading into plea negotiations and trial.
Aggressively build your criminal defense
You don’t want to face the harsh penalties being threatened against you in your criminal case. That’s why now is the time to start figuring out the best way to build your criminal defense.