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Is eyewitness evidence reliable?

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2021 | Criminal Defense

The legal system finally realizes that eyewitnesses are not as reliable as once thought. If the police charge you based on someone else’s word,  it is crucial you contest it.

While eyewitnesses have helped police solve many cases, they have also led to many innocent people being convicted.

4 ways to challenge eyewitness evidence

Here are some ways to contest the reliability of an eyewitness:

  • Challenge their memory: People’s minds can fill in the missing details to make a complete story. If someone’s original statement contained less detail than they now give, you need to consider where they got the new information. It may be they created it based on things they heard or read.
  • Challenge their motives: Not all eyewitnesses are honest, and some may have reasons they want you out of the way. For example, your ex tries to frame you because they do not want to share custody.
  • Challenge their eyesight: Some people can see better than others. If a 93-year-old says they are sure it was you, it may be easier to claim poor vision than if someone in their 20s says it.
  • Challenge their view: Sometimes, the conditions can make a clear identification hard, even for someone with perfect eyesight. Think about where they were when they claimed to have seen you. How close were they, and did they have a clear line of sight? Check how long they were watching. Did they have time to make a clear identification, or did they only have seconds? Thirdly, think about the weather and lighting at the time.

Even if you cannot find grounds to challenge an eyewitness, there may still be other ways to defend against criminal charges. Finding the best option will be essential to your chances of success.