There’s a lot at stake when facing white collar crime charges. A conviction can lead to prison time, financially ruinous fines, and damage to your reputation that might be hard to overcome. That’s why you need to do everything you can to raise reasonable doubt as to your guilt so that you can increase your chances of getting the charges against you dismissed or obtaining an acquittal at trial.
But how do you do that? There are several tactics that you may want to utilize in your case, but one often-overlooked aspect of a criminal defense is witness credibility.
Dealing with witness credibility
Much of the prosecution’s case is going to rely on witness testimony. However, the judge or jury is tasked with giving that testimony the appropriate weight, which means that you have the opportunity to convey to the judge or jury that the testimony shouldn’t be taken all that seriously. Here are a few ways to attack witness credibility:
- Prior inconsistent statement: If a witness’s story changes at trial, then you can be armed with their previous statements that tell a different story. This impeachment shows the judge or jury that the witness’s testimony can’t be trusted.
- Bias: A witness may be biased against you for one reason or another. A prior dispute, racial discrimination, familial relationships, or grudges at work can all cause bias that may affect an individual’s testimony. Highlight these issues for the judge and jury.
- Motivation: A witness might be motivated to testify against you, especially if he or she was given a break by the prosecution in exchange for that testimony.
- Criminal history: If the witness has a criminal history, then it might be important to highlight that for the jury so that they can see that the witness’s character for truthfulness is questionable.
Be proactive in your criminal defense
There’s too much on the line in your white collar crime case to take a passive approach to your defense. You need to research the prosecution’s witnesses and be prepared to take depositions so that you know what to expect at trial and how to minimize the power of the prosecution’s case. Attacking witness credibility is just one piece of your criminal defense, though, which is why it’s important that you consider seeking out legal assistance from an attorney who knows how to develop the holistic legal strategy that you need and deserve.