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Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / How Effective Are Character Witnesses in Florida Criminal Defense Trials?

How Effective Are Character Witnesses in Florida Criminal Defense Trials?


Although criminal trials revolve around facts and logic, they may also trigger emotional responses. Jurors may feel sympathetic toward a defendant with a warm personality and a history of altruism. In contrast, jurors may become less sympathetic toward defendants who are cold, remorseless, and notoriously cruel. A criminal defense attorney in Fort Myers can help you present yourself in the best possible light to ensure positive emotional responses. This has the potential to affect the outcome of the entire trial. Character witnesses can shed light on your personality and life story. But how effective is this strategy?

What Is a Character Witness?

 Character witnesses help you tell your side of the story. Although these witnesses may not have the expertise or knowledge to testify about the specifics of your case, they can help the court understand who you really are. Character witnesses are usually people who have known you for many years. These include co-workers, bosses, parents, grandparents, uncles, and best friends.

Can a Character Witness Help During My Criminal Trial? 

Character witness testimony will not affect the established facts of the case. In fact, character witnesses are only allowed to speak about your personality and life story. However, a character witness can still prove effective.

For example, you might be on trial for fraud. The prosecution may attempt to paint you as a career conman who has scammed numerous victims. A character witness can push back against these insinuations, highlighting all of the altruistic things you have done over the course of your life. Perhaps you helped someone battle addiction. Maybe you volunteered at your local community center. You might have donated to charity. Even the smallest details can help you challenge the villainous picture painted by prosecutors.

Prosecutors Can Also Call Upon Their Own Character Witnesses 

There are “good” character witnesses and “bad” character witnesses. While you may call upon the former, prosecutors may call upon the latter. A bad character witness will testify against you in court. This might be someone with a personal vendetta against you. Perhaps you have had an altercation or misunderstanding with this person in the past. If you are being accused of fraud, this might be someone who claims to be another victim.

 Character Witnesses Are Subject to Cross-Examination

 Whether called upon by the prosecution or the defense counsel, all character witnesses are subject to cross-examination by the opposing side. If you call upon a good character witness, prosecutors may attempt to cast doubt upon their testimony. If prosecutors call upon a bad character witness, your defense lawyer in Fort Myers can cross-examine them to expose any bias or lies.

Work Alongside an Experienced Fort Myers Defense Attorney

A character witness is only one potential tool you can use to pursue a positive verdict during a criminal trial. An experienced Fort Myers defense attorney can use various strategies during your trial. However, each case is different – and each case may require different evidence. To discuss the specifics of your situation, consult with Foley & Wilson today. We’ll get you started with a defense strategy.




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