Prosecutors build their cases on any type of evidence they can get their hands on, but the bulk of their strategies are built on witness testimony. Whether from a police officer, an informant, an associate of the defendant, or even a jailhouse “snitch,” these individuals can threaten to put you behind bars for a significant period of time, especially if your accused of serious drug crimes. That’s why you need to be prepared to attack the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses.
Know how to attack witness credibility
Attacking witness credibility isn’t always easy to do, but when the opportunity arises you have to seize it. There are a number of ways you can successfully do this.
- Depositions: A deposition is the process whereby you take sworn testimony from a witness or potential witness prior to trial. These can be taken months before trial, and give you the ability to learn what the witness knows and lock in his or her testimony. That way, if the witness is inconsistent when he or she testifies at trial, you can point to the deposition to show that the witness can’t be trusted to tell the truth.
- Show bias: Bias and prejudice are realities of today’s world. Consider whether an officer has a history of treating members of your race differently or if an informant was promised something in exchange for testifying against you. Presenting evidence of bias and prejudice can lead a jury to give that witness’s testimony less weight, which could make all the difference.
- Prior criminal history: Oftentimes witnesses have their own baggage when they step onto the witness stand. If they have a criminal history, particularly one that involves some sort of dishonesty, then you might be able to use that to your advantage to discredit the witness.
Successfully attacking witness credibility is going to require you to put in a lot of work before your case heads to trail. Preparation is key to a successful criminal defense. So, if you’ve been charged with a serious crime, like many drug-related offenses, then consider discussing your case with an attorney so that you can figure out the best way to defend yourself.