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Should you testify in your own criminal case?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If you are indicted and charged with a crime, you have a host of tough decisions to make. Will you need legal representation or fight the charges on your own? What kind of evidence will you present to prove your innocence? 

One of the most important decisions you need to make when charged with a crime is whether or not to testify in your own defence. Of course, it is the prosecution’s job to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, you are under no obligation to take the stand. 

Things to consider before taking the stand

You need to keep a couple of factors in mind if you are considering taking a stand in your defence. Here are some of these factors:

The nature of your case

The prosecution is trained and equipped to look for evidence they can use against you. And that includes aggressively interrogating you should you take the stand. The judge’s temperament can also complicate matters for you. If the judge is empathic and compassionate, the decision to testify may help your case. If they are strict, however, then testifying may not help your case much. 

Your credibility

As a defendant, your credibility is crucial to the success of your defence. If you do not come out as credible and honest during the cross-examination, the jury might be inclined to doubt your innocence. And if there is a possibility that your criminal history might come up or if you fear that you do not have your facts together, then taking the stand in your defence may be a huge gamble. 

Defending your rights

If you are charged with a crime, you need to exercise your right to defend yourself. Learning how the criminal justice system works can help you make an informed decision and protect your rights while fighting the charges against you.