Achieving the Best Possible Outcomes in Legal Cases

How your criminal defense attorney can put up several defenses against eyewitness testimony

by Maurice Carroll

If you've been charged with a criminal offense in court, it can be very stressful. Hearing that there's an eye witness to the crime that you allegedly committed can cause you great anxiety. However, there are various ways that your criminal defense attorney may challenge such eye witness testimony.

Expose bias

If the eyewitness personally knows you, there may be some enmity between the two of you which may cause the eyewitness to incorrectly identify you as the suspect. For instance, if you don't get along with the eyewitness, they may be taking advantage of the criminal case in order to get vengeance against you. Therefore, your criminal defense attorney will argue that the eye witness has an ulterior motive which might be influencing him or her to testify against you.

Contest the vision

Sometimes eyewitnesses don't actually see what they allege they saw. As a result, the vision of the eyewitness ought to be challenged. Moreover, any impediments to perception must be explored. For instance, the offense may have been perpetrated at night, and it may have been very hard to see the defendant. Likewise, the offense may have been perpetrated at a distance, making it difficult for a person to see the culprit. If there were any barriers to the eyesight or if the crime happened too fast for anyone to recognize the subject, this aspect will be explored by your defense attorney.

Question the memory

Generally, there's a long time period between when the crime was perpetrated and when the actual trial starts. Even if the eyewitness gave testimony at a grand jury trial, the witness may only be restating what he or she earlier said, thus cementing this information whether it's true or not. Your criminal defense lawyer may seek to question the memory of the witness. If there's any inconsistent details in the record like the witness mentioning specific characteristics soon after the crime and then pointing out an individual in a lineup with contradictory characteristics, this contradiction should be raised by the attorney.

Another likely issue is if the eyewitness has seen TV news mentioning the defendant in association with the crime. As a result, the witness may only be linking the suspect to the crime due to this link, instead of relying on his or her own recollection.

Similarly, the emotional state of the witness should also be questioned. Assuming the witness was the victim or equally affected by the crime, chances are that the witness may have been under stress. Therefore, his or her testimony regarding the incident may be incorrect because of this delicate emotional state.