Are eyewitness testimonies reliable?

| Apr 4, 2021 | Criminal defense |

Eyewitness testimonies are commonly used with evidence to determine if a suspect is guilty of a crime in California. Unfortunately, eyewitness testimonies aren’t as reliable as many people assume; human error can significantly affect the outcome of a case.

What can affect an eyewitness’s credibility?

Studies show that stress can cause many people to recall incorrect events that they assume they saw or heard. Many witnesses are prone to picking the wrong person in a lineup and can rebuild their memory. Unfortunately, this can cause the wrong person to be convicted of a criminal offense. Unconscious memory distortions and biases can prevent the eyewitness testimonies from being as accurate or reliable as DNA collected at the crime scene.

What additional variables influence eyewitness testimonies?

There are multiple factors that influence what a witness assumed they saw, which includes the lighting and the conditions of the setting. The attention or skill of the witness also determines the level of accuracy with what they recall. For example, excess noise present in the setting can affect what they think they heard. Other distracting stimuli can play a role in an eyewitness incorrectly recalling whether they saw a weapon or identified a suspect.

Who can you contact for legal assistance?

If you’re charged with a crime, it’s important to reach out to a criminal defense attorney for help navigating the legal process. The legal professional may inform you of your rights and closely examine the evidence collected to consider all factors. An attorney may work for the best possible outcome and help you prepare for court. A criminal defense attorney might offer their services for charges that include violent crimes, sex crimes and drunk driving.