If you’ve watched crime shows on TV, then you’ve probably heard about depositions. Depositions are the process of taking sworn testimony from a witness, but well before trial and outside of court. As a result, depositions can feel a little informal, but make no mistake about it. This testimony is both a powerful discovery and litigation tool that can set you up for a successful criminal defense.
Depositions as a form of discovery
One reason to conduct depositions is to find out what the other side’s witnesses know. This is one of the best ways to prepare for trial. After all, how do you know what you’re truly up against and how you can defend yourself if you don’t know what the witnesses are going to say?
Queuing up attacks on credibility
Depositions are also a great way to lock witnesses into their testimony so that they’re set up for contradiction at trial if their story changes. Since depositions are sworn, then any inconsistencies during a witness’s trial testimony can devastate his or her credibility. This may be enough to raise reasonable doubt as to your guilt, meaning that this one step may be enough to tip the scales in your favor.
Depositions can also be used as a way to suppress evidence. Witnesses are usually subpoenaed to depositions, so you might be able to have their testimony excluded if they are properly subpoenaed and fail to appear at a deposition.
Building the framework for your defense
Your case is no TV show. There’s a lot on the line, and the consequences for a conviction are very real. That’s why it’s important to put in the work necessary early on to develop a strong framework for you criminal defense. Depositions are just one aspect of that preparation. But don’t let the process daunt you. Instead, think about whether you could benefit from securing the assistance of an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney.