The prosecution’s witnesses in your criminal trial are going to play a pivotal role in the ultimate outcome of your case. After all, if a judge or jury buys into that testimony, then the likelihood that you’ll be convicted may be significantly increased. If, on the other hand, you can diminish the credibility of that testimony, then you might stand a better chance of beating the charges that have been levied against you.
How do you go about attacking witness credibility?
Witness credibility can be attacked in a number of ways. Let’s look at some of them here:
- Prior inconsistent statements: By deposing witnesses before trial, you can lock them into their statements, which you can then use to your advantage at trial. This is especially true if the witness’s testimony changes between the deposition and trial, in which case you can highlight the inconsistencies for the judge and jury and bring the witness’s credibility into question.
- Prior criminal acts: If a witness has a criminal history, then you may be able to use that to your advantage. While not every criminal offense will be admissible for purposes of attacking a witness’s credibility, those offenses pertaining to truthfulness can be especially powerful.
- Bias and motivation: Some witnesses may be biased against you, such as if you’ve had a bad relationship with them in the past. Others may be motivated to testify against you, like in instances where prosecutors have offered them a plea bargain in exchange for testimony. You need to raise these issues at trial so that the judge or jury can apply the appropriate amount of weight to these witnesses’ testimony.
Fight to diminish the prosecution’s case
Attacking witness credibility is just one way to go about diminishing the prosecution’s case. You can also try to suppress evidence and simply argue that the evidence is insufficient for conviction. To make sure that you’re presenting the comprehensive criminal defense that you need on your side, consider working closely with a skilled criminal defense attorney.