What Are Expert Witnesses in Criminal Trials?

If you’re facing criminal charges, the outcome of your case may depend on the expert witness’s testimony. Expert witnesses are people called upon to give in-depth insights into specific areas concerning your matter. They educate the court and jury about the details from a professional viewpoint, which can sway the judge’s decision in giving a verdict.

Depending on your case’s unique circumstances, several expert witnesses exist that could be called to testify. If you or your loved one is facing criminal charges, consult skilled attorneys from a reputable defense advocacy law firm in Seattle. They can aggressively defend you and work towards a favorable outcome more efficiently.

Types of Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses’ professional opinions can potentially sway a trial’s outcome. Some types of expert witnesses that may be called upon include:

  • Psychologists: A defendant may claim insanity to pursue a lighter sentence. A psychologist must examine their mental state to convince the court of the defendant’s insanity. The psychologist must decide independently and then testify of their findings.
  • Forensic experts: These are usually called upon in cases such as murder and other violent crimes. The experts may have examined the crime scene and made various conclusions that could affect the case outcome.
  • Accountants: Accountants and other financial experts may be called upon in white-collar crimes such as fraud. They show courts how certain sums of money might have been moved around while violating specific policies.

If the prosecution calls upon expert witnesses to help them build a strong case against you, your Seattle criminal justice attorney may also call upon expert witnesses to challenge the claims. That’s why you should work with an experienced attorney who understands how the system works to help your case and fight for your rights.

What is the Purpose of Expert Witnesses in a Criminal Trial?

The testimony of expert witnesses becomes necessary when the court needs a professional opinion on the evidence presented to help resolve a dispute. Their opinion may lead to the early resolution of the case, significantly reducing the time it takes for the outcome of typical criminal cases to be determined.

Once the witnesses produce their reports, the parties involved can ask questions on any aspect of the report, to which the expert responds for clarification purposes. The information and answers they give form part of the evidence and assist the court in making a judgment.

Your criminal justice lawyer in Seattle can help you enlist the help of an expert witness to poke holes in the prosecutor’s evidence.

What is Expected of an Expert Witness?

Expert witnesses are expected to cooperate to help narrow the technical issues in a criminal case at the earliest possible stage. They should produce uninfluenced, independent reports to the court.

Expert witnesses should state facts or assumptions upon which they formed their opinion. However, they shouldn’t omit considerable material facts that could deviate from their opinion.

Can an Expert Witness Help My Case?

Whether expert witnesses are called upon to testify in your case depends on the unique circumstances of your case. However, there is a possibility that you could benefit from their expertise in the following ways:

Providing Credibility to Your Defense

Expert witnesses brought in by your criminal justice lawyer in Seattle can prove the credibility of your defense by providing professional technical knowledge and opinion related to your case. With their specialized education, experience, and training in the particular field, as it pertains to your case, they can help you counter the prosecution’s evidence.

For example, a DNA expert witness may provide evidence contrary to the prosecutor’s DNA evidence or supports your criminal justice lawyer’s theory. Their testimony can effectively support your version of events depending on how they collaborate with your defense attorney.

Educating the Jury

Expert witnesses can help the court unravel complex technical or scientific issues related to your case. Criminal cases are complex, making them difficult for most people to understand. Expert witnesses explain the technicalities in simple terms for a better understanding of the evidence by the jury.

The testimony the expert witness gives includes factors such as:

  • The method’s error rate
  • Testing of the analytical model
  • Standards and controls of the method
  • Peer review of the analysis method
  • Acceptance of the method within the relevant community

Impacting Sentencing

An expert witness can impact the outcome of your sentencing by recommending alternative sentencing options or providing mitigating factors. For example, a psychologist can provide evidence of an accused’s mental illness, which the jury may consider a mitigating factor during sentencing.

In recommending alternative sentencing options, an expert witness may ask the court to put the accused on rehabilitation or community service programs if found guilty. These are often more beneficial than imprisonment.

How Do I Know if I Need an Expert Witness for My Defense?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, your Seattle criminal justice lawyer will help you determine if an expert witness is necessary. Factors that may warrant an expert witness’ testimony include technical or scientific evidence presented by the prosecution or complex issues present in your defense.

Protect Your Freedom With an Aggressive Defense Team in Seattle

Criminal cases are complex, and expert witnesses are crucial in helping courts simplify technical issues. They provide a sense of credibility and objectivity through their expertise. They also integrate with the legal team to enhance the outcome of an entire case. Depending on your case specifics, your Seattle criminal justice attorney may bring on board an expert witness to justify your defense.

The Law Offices of Kevin Trombold is a defense advocacy law firm in Seattle. We have a team of aggressive criminal justice lawyers who can help in your case. Let us evaluate your case, help you determine if you need an expert witness, and guide you on the possible outcome of your case. Call us at 206-590-7667 to schedule a FREE case assessment.