If you are accused of a crime, the United States Constitution guarantees you a series of rights that are designed to assure you get a fair trial. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. One major issue can be witnesses testifying falsely. While you cannot prevent a witness from testifying, we can impeach a witness. In a trial, impeachment refers to challenging the witness’s credibility.
Keep reading to learn six ways that your criminal defense attorney may be able to impeach witnesses against you during cross examination. If you have been accused of a crime, contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to request a free legal consultation.
- Introduce Other Statements from the Witness
- Show the Witness is Biased
- Show the Witnesses is Not Qualified to Testify
- Use Other Witness Testimony Against Them
- Certain Criminal Records
- Show That They Were Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
If the witness says something on the stand that is not consistent with their previous statements, then we may be able to introduce the previous statements to show that they are being inconsistent. If they have said two opposite things, then one must be true and the other false.
If the witness is biased against you then we may be able to enter a hearsay statement that they disliked you or were otherwise against you.
If the witness has some type of defect of capacity, ability, or opportunity to recount and / or remember the matter, then we may be able to impeach the witness. For example, if they claim they saw you commit a robbery from across the street, but we can show they did not have their glasses on at the time and therefore could not have made you out, then this could work in your favor.
If there is another witness that has testified believably to an entirely different set of material facts, then we can use this to show that the witness is not be honest.
In most cases, we cannot bring up a witness’s criminal record to impeach them. There are a few exceptions though, such as a witness who has been convicted of a crime that is punishable by death or imprisonment, or if the crime they were convicted of involved giving false statements.
If the incident about which the witness testifies took place while the witness was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then we may be able to bring this. Generally it will be admissible because it is direct evidence that their recollection may be affected.
If you are facing criminal charges and need the best criminal defense attorney then you need to contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055. We are standing by to provide a free legal consultation.