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Do eyewitnesses make for an open and shut case?

If the police have charged you with a crime, you understandably have concerns about how the charges will affect your future. Despite being in handcuffs, you maintain your innocence and want to defend against the allegations as well as possible. However, officers may have made it seem as if they have an open and shut case against you due to having eyewitness testimony.

Before you start to panic or wonder who would say you did something you did not do, it is important to remember that information provided by a witness does not mean assurance of your guilt. In fact, problems can exist with using witness testimony as evidence.

Is it reliable?

Often, witnesses play an important role in criminal cases. After all, the prosecution wants to make the jury believe that you did something wrong, and if an outside party can support those accusations, they may have a stronger case. However, just because someone says he or she saw something, it does not necessarily mean it is true. That also does not mean that the person wants to intentionally lie, but memories are not as accurate as many people want to believe.

Issues with memory

Even if something seems immensely clear in a person's mind, it still does not mean that what that person remembers is accurate. People can fill in gaps and missing details with inaccurate information without fully realizing that they have done it. They may simply think that they specifically remember what happened. Someone may fully believe that he or she saw you at the location where the criminal event occurred, but it could later come to light that it was someone who looked like you or was of similar height.

Powerful in court

Despite the issues with memory, eyewitness accounts remain a powerful tool in court. As a result, you likely cannot simply hinge your defense on claiming that witnesses misremember what happened. Often, the prosecution will have other evidence that they hope witness statements will bolster or vice versa.

Because discounting witness statements can be difficult, you will certainly want to understand how you can best go about defending against any criminal allegations you face. You may not know where to start, but fortunately, you do not have to try to figure it all out on your own. You can enlist the help of an experienced Washington defense attorney who can explain your options and help you maintain your innocence.

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Tim Kelly

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