Felony charges can threaten to derail your life. If you end up convicted, then your freedom, your reputation, and even your financial stability can be stripped from you. In other words, you’ve got a lot to lose in your case, which means that you need to do everything that you can in order to protect yourself as fully as possible. This means analyzing every aspect of the prosecution’s case, including their witnesses. In fact, attacking the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses can be one of your strongest defense strategies.
This is because the judge or jury is going to have to give each witness’s testimony a certain amount of weight, which you might be able to diminish through tactful litigation. This might just raise the reasonable doubt you need to escape the charges pressed against you.
Ways to attack witness credibility
In order to successfully attack witness credibility, you really need to do your homework. Once you’ve requested and received a witness list from the prosecution, you can do each of the following:
- Conduct a deposition: A deposition is recorded, sworn testimony that is given prior to trial. Here, you can pin down a witnesses testimony so that you can then later use it against him or her at trial if his or her story changes. Even a seemingly minor inconsistency can have enormous repercussions for the prosecution’s case.
- Look into biases: A witnesses biases and motivations can shape the way they testify. So assess patterns of conduct and actions taken in a witness’s personal life that may show that they have it in for you. Alleged accomplishes are often offered plea bargains in exchange for testifying, so be prepared to show the judge and jury that motivation as well.
- Recognize criminal history: Some of a witness’s criminal history can be relevant to his or her credibility, especially those convictions that speak to a character for truthfulness or lack thereof. Fraud, forgery, and impersonation can all help you attack witness credibility.
Leave no stone unturned
Attacking witness credibility should be just one piece of your criminal defense, but it’s a challenging one that many attorneys handle ineptly. If you’d like to learn more about how to handle your legal challenges with confidence and fortitude, then consider reaching out to a criminal defense firm that truly knows how to fight against aggressive prosecutorial tactics.