Five Ways In Which Your Attorney Can Refute Eyewitness Testimony Against You

Eyewitness testimony can be powerful evidence in a criminal trial. Unfortunately, it's not always accurate. In fact, eyewitness misidentification is the cause of the greatest number of wrongful convictions in the U.S., according to the non-profit group The Innocence Project. 

The following are five ways in which a lawyer can sometimes refute eyewitness testimony against you, especially if there is a lack of physical evidence:

1. Witness limitations

Witnesses may face difficulties because they were intoxicated at the time. Or perhaps they have vision problems or were suffering from the effects of an illness or injury.

Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause blurred vision or tiredness, which can affect not only vision, but a witness's ability to accurately perceive things.

2. Location issues

If the witness was located any distance away from you, he or she may not have been able to see you well. Especially if the area was poorly lit, the witness simply may be mistaken.

Was it dark at the time? Are there streetlights in the area, and were they working at the time in question? All of these can be questioned and verified by your attorney.

3. Lineup bias

Another common eyewitness error can occur when you were placed in a police lineup, and you bore the closest resemblance to the person who actually committed the crime.

It's not uncommon for eyewitnesses to believe that if they're shown a lineup, the guilty party must be one of the choices presented.

4. Cross-racial identification

Our nation is increasingly diverse, so in any given case, it's not at all surprising that you may have defendants and witnesses of different races.

But several studies have shown that people just aren't that accurate when it comes to identifying a person from a racial background different than their own. For example, The Innocence Project found that among the first 74 cases that they were able to overturn, eyewitnesses incorrectly misidentified a person of another race in the majority of the cases.

5. Convincing alibi

Sometimes it can be proven that you were in a different place at the time the eyewitnesses says you were committing a crime. Perhaps you have a receipt from a store showing that you were in a different part of town. Or a relative or friend who can positively identify you may have been with you at the time you were supposedly spotted committing a crime.

If you've been accused of a crime based on eyewitness testimony, discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney, such as from Criminal Defense P.A. He or she can research the particular circumstances of your case and help represent you and, if warranted, work to refute the eyewitness testimony.

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