Despite what many people assume — arguably the result of popular television shows and other media — it’s quite rare that a criminal defendant will take the stand in their own case. Not only is it not necessary, but it also has the potential to radically damage the case. Here’s what you need to know about testifying under oath at your trial and how an experienced defense attorney can protect your rights.
Cross-Examination Is Usually a Poor Defense Strategy
One of the riskiest moves in a criminal case is being cross-examined by the prosecution, however, this is exactly what happens when you testify in your own defense in court. If the other side is able to make you look flustered or nervous, the jury may automatically assume that you’re lying — even if the attorney asking you questions is clearly being aggressive and trying to get a rise out of you.
Telling the Jury You’re Innocent Isn’t a Requirement
Many defendants mistakenly assume that if you’re innocent, you have to take the stand and say it under oath. However, this isn’t true. In a court of law, you are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt as a result of evidence brought forth by the prosecution, who is responsible for the burden of proof in criminal cases.
Jurors May Begin to Have a Different Perception of Which Side Should Bring Proof
If you decide to take the stand in court, you may end up unknowingly causing the perceptions of the jurors of which party should show proof to change. Jury members may start to think that you have the responsibility to prove your innocence when in reality, you only need to refute the evidence brought by the prosecution.
An Alternative Criminal Defense Tactic
A different — and arguably better — criminal defense strategy is to take steps that weaken the prosecutors’ case against you. For example, if they have a key piece of evidence that was obtained against you, having this dismissed will leave them with little to show that you actually did commit the crime.
Get the Legal Help You Need Now From an Experienced Marrietta, GA Defense Attorney
Waiting too long after being arrested for a criminal offense can seriously impact your future and livelihood. You can’t afford a guilty verdict; contact a seasoned Georgia criminal defense attorney today for a consultation to discuss your case at 770.627.3221.