A federal criminal conviction can devastate your life. While that’s certainly a scary prospect, it shouldn’t paralyze you into inaction. Instead, it should motivate you to build the strongest criminal defense possible under the circumstances. Only then can you gain the leverage you need at negotiations and at trial, which will hopefully lead to dismissed charges or an acquittal.
To build a strong criminal defense, you need to take a holistic approach. You might present an alibi, challenge chain of custody pertaining to key pieces of evidence, or claim an affirmative defense like self-defense. But there are other tactics, too. One that you shouldn’t overlook is witness credibility.
The importance of attacking witness credibility
Witness testimony can make or break the prosecution’s case. This is because juries watch and listen to witnesses closely to figure how reliable they are and how much weight their testimony should be given. Therefore, you need to find ways to chip away at the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses.
You can do this is a variety of ways using the rules of evidence. For example, you can depose a witness well before trial so that you lock in his or her testimony, which can then be used to point out inconsistent statements that are made at trial. Another strategy may be to point out a witnesses biases or motivations, such as immunity or a plea deal in exchange for testimony. Even a witness’s prior criminal convictions can play a major role in witness credibility.
Have a strong criminal defense going into your case
But it’s up to you to present this evidence and attack a witness’s credibility. Not every criminal defense attorney is going to know how to aggressively do this on your case, which is why you need to choose your representation carefully. Conduct research to figure out what the successes have been for your potential attorneys and only select the one that you know will give you fighting chance you deserve.