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Should you be worried about eyewitness claims?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Movies and TV shows may have you believe that a person’s whole defense to their criminal charges can crumble due to the claim that an eyewitness saw the defendant commit the crime.

However, there is proof that eyewitness testimonies aren’t as reliable as some people believe.

The problem with eyewitnesses

Police officers, detectives, attorneys, judges, and juries have all relied on the testimony of eyewitnesses to the crime. They rely upon it so heavily that juries have convicted people of crimes when all other evidence was contrary to the eyewitness’s claims.

Over the last several years, the importance of eyewitness testimony has come under attack. With continued progress in DNA technology, people who were convicted based on eyewitness accounts are exonerated when the DNA evidence has proven them innocent.

So, what causes eyewitness testimony to be so unreliable? Several factors contribute to the inaccuracy, including:

  • Poor eyesight
  • Race
  • How the police or detectives ask questions
  • Stress
  • The bias of the witness
  • Past experiences contaminate the memory of the event

We can’t blame the witnesses because they believe in the accuracy of their memories. But, it is essential that the judicial system put aside its reliance on the testimony of eyewitnesses to the event in question.

If police charge you with a crime based on eyewitness testimony, it is crucial to understand the factors that can affect eyewitness accuracy, causing it to be unreliable. If that happens, your defense can do several things to challenge the identification or the evidence against you and improve the chances of winning your case.