Going to trial: Cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses

news image

If you are on trial for a criminal offense in Florida, it falls to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime at hand. As such, opposing counsel will present their evidence first. This involves the presentation of any material evidence as well as the direct examination of selected witnesses. Following this line of questioning, your legal representative will have the chance to cross-examine these individuals.

To prepare for this, your Miami criminal defense attorney will pay close attention to the statements made by the witnesses on the stand. But what, exactly, will your lawyer be looking for? Often, your defense attorney may have the opportunity to undermine the case of the prosecution by casting doubt on the credibility of witness testimony before the jury.

When preparing to cross-examine a witness, your Miami criminal defense lawyer will likely consider some of the following factors:

  • Any evidence of bias or potential motive to incriminate you
  • Past history that may call the witness’ moral character into question
  • Their authority on the subject of their testimony
  • Their ability to effectively and accurately recall events

As the American Bar Association notes, leading questions are permitted at this time “since the purpose of cross-examination is to test the credibility of statements made during direct examination [… and] it is likely that the witness will resist any suggestion that is not true.”

This cross-examination is an important part of a criminal trial, as it will allow your Miami defense attorney to reveal any holes in the prosecution’s argument and disrupt the narrative they are presenting to the jury. For an experienced attorney who will shed light on these discrepancies, call Scott A. Ferris, Esq. at 305-670-3330.