In a criminal case the prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt, hence the phrase we have all heard, “innocent until proven guilty”. The prosecution will use a wide variety of tactics to prove a defendant’s guilt, including the testimony of law enforcement officers. A law enforcement officer’s testimony is considered evidence in a court of law; however, as with any witness testimony, the credibility of that evidence can be questioned.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Clearwater and you decide to take your case to trial there is a very good chance that one, or more, law enforcement officers will testify at the trial. A cop can provide a wide range of testimony for the prosecution. Sometimes an officer’s testimony is used to lay the foundation for the admission of physical evidence. For example, if the charge is possession of a controlled substance and the officer was the one who found the drugs the officer will testify as to how that came about. Other times a cop will testify to what a defendant said when questioned about a crime. Still other situations require a law enforcement officer to testify to what he saw. For example, in a DUI prosecution the officer might be called upon to testify as to the defendant’s driving behavior prior to being pulled over by the officer.
Just as any other witness’s testimony is evidence for the jury to consider, so is the testimony of a law enforcement officer. Whether or not the testimony is found to be credible is up to the jury. Your attorney’s job, on cross-examination, is to convince the jury that the officer’s testimony is not credible or inaccurate. Often, this is accomplished by pointing out inconsistencies in the officer’s testimony or asking the officer for details that he or she cannot provide. There are a number of defense strategies that can be used to try and diminish the value placed on the testimony of a law enforcement officer. Sometimes, discrediting an officer is the key to winning the case for the defendant in a criminal prosecution.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Clearwater, Florida and you are concerned about testimony you believe a cop will give at trial, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the prosecution of your case. Contact Powers Sellers & Finkelstein, PLC when you need a criminal defense attorney working for you. Keep Calm Call Us®! 727-531-2926.