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Witness Testimony in Texas Criminal Cases

Witness stand criminal law

Witnesses play an important role in criminal cases, and not just if they saw the defendant commit the crime or if they saw the defendant somewhere far from the crime scene at the time that the prosecution alleges that the crime took place. Testimony from witnesses helps prosecutors and defense attorneys form their interpretations of the physical evidence connected to the alleged crime. For example, the defendant’s DNA could be at the crime scene because he committed the crime or because he arrived after the crime took place and tried to render assistance. The only way to tell the difference is because of testimony from witnesses. 

Furthermore, the jurors will better understand what really happened if they hear it from witnesses instead of just from lawyers who only entered the picture after the defendant got arrested. 

If you were accused of a crime, a Texas criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, can help you persuade the jury of your innocence through witness testimony.

How Your Witnesses and the Prosecution’s Witnesses Can Cast Doubt on the Charges Against You

When witnesses testify at trial, they must take an oath the tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Each witness is either a prosecution witness or a defense witness, depending on which side called the witness to testify. In other words, your lawyer will call witnesses that your lawyer believes can help support the interpretation of events that you are presenting. For example, suppose you are being accused of financial crimes. In that case, your lawyer might summon the bank employee who answered the phone when you called the bank immediately upon noticing suspicious activity on your account.

Each lawyer has the right to ask questions to the other side’s witness after the summoning party has finished questioning the witness; this is called cross-examination. When a lawyer cross-examines the witness, the goal is either to reveal information that the other lawyer did not ask about or to catch the witness contradicting himself or herself, therefore casting doubt on the credibility of their testimony.

Can Witnesses Give Depositions Instead of Testifying Live at Your Trial?

In cases, such as personal injury lawsuits, most witnesses testify during depositions, which are meetings with both parties’ lawyers at a law office, where a court reporter records the transcript.

In criminal cases, Texas has a strong preference for live testimony at trial. This is so jurors can observe the witnesses’ demeanor instead of simply listening to a lawyer read a transcript of what the witness said at a deposition.  Having a thorough attorney who takes time to find and interview character witnesses for your case will help preserve your image before the court and judge.  A good attorney will also prepare you for the stand so you can present your case in the best light and bring understanding to your case.

Texas allows depositions in criminal cases if the witness is unable to attend the trial because he or she is incarcerated or in poor health. If the court determines that there is a very high risk of witness tampering, it may also choose to have a witness give a deposition instead of appearing at trial.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, About Criminal Trials

You should hire a Dallas criminal defense lawyer if you are planning to plead not guilty to criminal charges and go to trial. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, to discuss your case.

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