When is “mistaken identity” a viable defense?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Being accused of a crime can be devastating — and it does not get any better if your arrest and arraignment were based on mistaken identity. 

While advances in technology have improved the accuracy with which most crimes are resolved, mistaken identity still happens. Basically, this happens when you are mistakenly identified either by the victim or eyewitness as the perpetrator of the crime in question. If you are mistakenly accused of a crime, you will most likely want to explore this defense option.

So, how does mistaken identity happen?

You can claim mistaken identity to prove that you were intentionally or unintentionally misidentified as the perpetrator of a crime either through a photo array or a lineup. Generally, here are some of the circumstances when you can be mistakenly identified as the perpetrator of the crime:

  • When the witness has memory issues due to age or illness
  • When a witness was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time
  • When the witness was under some form of duress that may have affected their memory
  • When the witness has racial biases that affect their ability to differentiate between people
  • When the witness’ viewpoint was distorted or obstructed in some way

While arguing mistaken identity, your defense will have to demonstrate that there was a problem with either the lineup and identification process or the that the witness was unreliable. 

Fighting mistaken identity

Being accused of a crime that you had nothing to do with can leave you shaken and angry. However, you should never sit back and do nothing about it. Subject to the circumstances of your case, some of the defense options you can consider when mistakenly charged with a crime include yielding to a DNA test or providing an alibi. Experienced legal guidance can help you learn more.