Usually, after criminal charges have been filed against a Maryland resident, the defendant is then arraigned in court and must declare their innocence or guilt. If they state that they are not guilty, a trial date is set. But, before the trial, the defendant and his or her criminal defense team engage in the process of discovery with the prosecution to prepare for trial. During discovery, both the prosecution and the defense may use depositions to help them prepare their case. Nonetheless, exactly what is a deposition, and what is it used for?
A deposition is a statement made by an individual who is in some way involved with a specific court case. It is always made under oath, and it is usually given at a different location than the courtroom, such as an attorney's office.
The information given by the person deposed can be used by either the prosecution or the criminal defense team to help them prepare for trial. It can be used directly at the trial itself, and a deposition can be either a video or a written statement.
When someone is being deposed by the prosecution, the defense has the right to be present. In addition, when the defense is deposing someone, the prosecution has the right to be present as well. In other words, both sides will have the opportunity to depose the witness.
Depositions let both parties involved with the case know what potential witnesses will say at trial. A deposition can also be used to get testimony from an individual who cannot be at the trial.
A deposition by a witness can be used by the opposing side to try and discredit that witness. Any Maryland resident who is facing criminal charges may want to speak with a criminal defense attorney to find out how a deposition can work to their benefit.
Source: AmericanBar.org, "How courts work," accessed on April 16, 2016