To present the best criminal defense possible, you have to be thoroughly prepared to litigate your case. That’s why the discovery process is so important. During the discovery phase of your case, you diligently work to find out what the other side knows so that you can better anticipate its arguments and build your own.
One of most important aspects of discovery in a criminal case is the deposition. Here, you take sworn testimony from witnesses prior to trial and outside of court in order to lock in their statements and gauge how they’ll respond to certain questions at trial. You can then use this depositional testimony to attack a witness’s credibility or poke holes in the prosecution’s case.
Competently navigating depositions
Depositions might seem a little less formal than trial testimony, but they are just as important, if not more so, than the testimony actually given in court. That’s why you have to have a strong strategy going into your depositions if you hope to exploit them to your advantage. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be an active listener, as witnesses often provide pieces of information that require thorough follow up
- Have a checklist of items that you want to address
- Don’t give away your trial strategy
- Use awkward silences to encourage a witness to keep talking
- Put everything on the record, even if it occurred off the record, so that you can seek the proper relief late on
- Know how to deal with attorneys who won’t stop objecting
Taking depositions in a useful fashion requires skill and legal knowledge, so consider seeking help if you’re unsure of how to pursue this matter in a way that protects your interests.
Build the thorough criminal defense you deserve
You’re innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s a high bar that prosecutors have to clear. But they’re oftentimes able to do so, which is why it’s imperative that you know how to aggressively defend yourself. One of the best ways to do so is by being thoroughly prepared and using that preparation at trial. If you’re able to do that, then you can maximize your chances of beating the prosecution and protecting your future.