When a criminal proceeding begins, the most crucial aspect in determining whether the defendant is innocent or guilty is evidence. The judge will call upon any witnesses to make a statement detailing what they saw. There are certain rules regarding evidence and witnesses under New York State’s criminal procedure laws.
When it comes to witnesses, anyone who comes forward and states that they were witness to the incident is permitted to testify during the criminal proceeding. In addition, the defendant themselves is allowed to make a statement if they wish, but it is not required.
It is important to know that there are a number of different penalties associated with behavior towards a witness that may result in further consequences. Some potential charges may include bribing a witness, unlawfully penalizing a witness, and intimidating a witness. Many of these charges can result in felonies that range in severity depending on the situation.
One of the best things that you can do when you are called as a witness in a criminal case is to speak only about what you know you saw, not what you think happened. It is not your job to speculate and put the pieces together, that is the job of the law enforcement team who is working on the case. However, your witness testimony statement can be of great help in determining what really happened when a crime was committed.
If you have been called to serve as a witness in a criminal case, you may want to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand what you can expect during the case.
If you are in need of experienced legal counsel in New York State, please contact Grunwald & Seman, P.C. and we would be happy to assist you.