Should You Testify in Your Essex County Domestic Violence Case?
Posted by Scott Gorman - October 16, 2020

If you have been arrested on domestic violence charges in Essex County, you face swift and severe consequences. You need to defend yourself by all means available, and you need to be extremely careful to avoid mistakes that could make your situation worse than it already is. At this point, you should not do anything unless advised to do so by your Essex County domestic violence attorney, and this includes deciding whether to testify in your own defense.

What are the Risks of Testifying in Your Domestic Violence Case?

If you are like many individuals who have been accused of domestic violence, you are anxious to tell your side of the story. Especially if you have been falsely accused, you want people to know the truth, and you want everyone – the judge and jury included – to see your situation for what it really is.

But, testifying in your own defense can be dangerous. This is true even if you are clearly innocent of the crime alleged. Here’s why:

  • The jury might not believe you. Despite the protections built into our criminal justice system, many jurors are still predisposed to think that someone charged with a crime must be guilty. If you testify and jury members refuse to believe you, this could make it even harder to execute a successful defense.
  • You might misspeak on the witness stand. Even if you thoroughly prepare your testimony and all jurors have open minds, you might say something other than what you intend. If you accidentally say the wrong thing, or if you come across as nervous or not telling the whole truth, this could work against you as well.
  • You will be required to submit to cross-examination. If you testify in your own defense, then you must submit to cross-examine by the prosecution as well. Even if you do not have anything to hide, this can still be challenging and can lead to adverse consequences. Likewise, if you answer your attorney’s questions and then assert your right to remain silent on cross-examination, this is likely to raise serious questions in the jurors’ minds.

When Should You Testify in Your Own Defense?

Given these concerns, should you ever testify in your own defense during a domestic violence case in Essex County? Yes, under the appropriate circumstances, testifying could be in your best interests. Deciding whether to testify requires consideration of a variety of different factors, including:

  • What defenses to domestic violence do you have available?
  • What evidence does the prosecution have against you?
  • What other evidence (besides your own testimony) do you have in your favor?
  • How likely is the jury to believe your testimony?
  • Does it make sense to pursue a pre-trial resolution?

Discuss Your Case with Essex County Domestic Violence Attorney Scott Gorman

Are you facing a domestic violence charge in Essex County? If so, you need to speak with a defense attorney immediately. To discuss your case with Essex County defense attorney Scott Gorman, call 201-489-9199 or request a free consultation online now. 

Published in Categories: Domestic Violence