Preparation is key to your criminal defense. You need to analyze the facts at hand and gauge how the prosecution is going to levy its arguments against you.
There are many components to adequate preparation, too. You’ll need to identify witnesses, talk to experts, and gather exhibits. But one key aspect of your preparation that many fail to see the importance of is depositions.
A deposition is a process in which you take sworn testimony from a witness outside of court and before your trial. You’ll have to subpoena witnesses to appear and ensure that you have a court reporter who can record and document the testimony that is given. Then you’ll have to wait for a transcript of the deposition, which you then may be able to use at trial if you plan to attack witness credibility.
Your attorney and the prosecutor will have an opportunity to question the witness at a deposition. Although objections can be made, in most instances the witness is going to have to answer the question that has been asked.
If there’s a dispute as to whether the question was a legally valid one, then the matter can be taken to the court for an ultimate determination on the question.
Why you need to conduct sound depositions
Depositions can be powerful in your case for many reasons. To start, depositions allow you to learn more about your case and what the prosecution intends to present against you. This information can help you better determine how to develop your defense strategy and attack the prosecution’s case at trial.
Additionally, by taking depositions, you lock witnesses into their testimony. This is important for credibility purposes. If the witness changes their story between the time of deposition and their trial testimony, then you can use the transcript of the deposition to point out irregularities and inconsistencies.
This can devastate the witness’s credibility, which, in turn, can minimize the impact of his or her testimony.
Opening doors to other defense strategies
A strong deposition might also give way to other criminal defense opportunities. For example, if during a deposition you find out that law enforcement acted in a way that violated your Constitutional rights, then you can explore that matter further, which could lead to a successful motion to suppress some of the prosecution’s evidence.
So, as you prepare for your depositions, make sure that you have an understanding of the breadth of your questioning and what your goals are in conducting the deposition.
Protecting your witnesses
It’s important to remember that the prosecution can also depose witnesses. Therefore, if you have witnesses who are going to testify on your behalf, then you should expect them to be subpoenaed by the prosecution for a deposition.
Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that those witnesses are adequately prepared for their deposition and you’re ready with questions to help protect their credibility and their testimony.
Competently address your discovery issues
The discovery process in a criminal case can seem long and drawn out. But it’s a critically important component of your criminal defense. With inadequate discovery, your future and your freedom may be needlessly put at risk.
Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, consider working closely with a criminal defense attorney who knows how to craft persuasive legal strategies aimed at protecting people like you from the harsh penalties that have been threatened against them.