How to Attack Inaccurate Police Testimony
By David Cardon on May 09, 2017
What do you do in court when a police officer lies about the facts of your case in front of a judge? This issues comes up occasionally and how a lawyer or defendant chooses to deal with this very sensative issue can make a huge difference in the outcome of a case.
First you should realize that the judge will most likely believe a police officer over a defendant if testimony is different. The judge knows that the officer has nothing to gain by lying, unlike the defendant who stands to lose a lot. Even so, there are some tactics you can use if you are faced with an officer who has a different account of the facts.
First, evaluate whether or not the inaccurate testimony hurts your case. If it does not, just ignore it and move on. The judge will just be frustrated with you if you waste time proving inaccuracies that are irrelevant or immaterial to your case.
Second use independent witnesses. If you have any witnesses that can verify your story, bring them to court to testify. The witnesses' testimony will be more credible if they have nothing to do with the incident and if they have never been in trouble with the law before. If you have multiple witnesses, your story will be even more credible to the judge.
Third, when the judge asks if you would like to ask the officer any questions, do not ask the officer "Isn't it true you are lying?" You are better off asking the officer specific questions related to the facts of the incident in order to get the officer to admit they might not remember the facts accurately.
Fourth, when you present your side of the story, do not say the police officer is lying. The judge will be more receptive to the idea that the officer did not remember the incident correctly because (1) he or she handles hundreds of cases a month, (2) it happened so long ago, and/or (3) the officer did not write any notes.
Fifth, whenever you deal with police officers, be polite and courteous. Do not give a police officer any reason to make convicting you a personal vendetta.
Finally, hire an attorney. A good attorney will talk to the police officer before trial. The attorney should find out what the officer will say before you go into court and will know how to best defend you against potentially inaccurate police testimony.
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At the heart of this practice, we are improving people's lives everyday. My clients often have their job, their assets, and their quality of life residing on these cases, which is why success is not just important, but absolutely crucial.David A. Cardon PC