Should You Hire an Expert Witness For Your Criminal Defense Case

Blischak Law August 13, 2023 Personal injury

If you are facing criminal charges, you may be concerned about who will testify on your behalf. Often, lay witnesses, or witnesses who are not experts, are the main voices that the jury will hear. In some cases, an expert witness can illustrate the facts of the case in a way that can be eye-opening for a jury.  

Lay Witnesses Vs. Expert Witnesses

Lay witnesses are typically called to the stand to describe what they observed personally following a crime or a criminal allegation. They will be questioned about their experience, what they saw, heard, or inferred. Their testimony can shed important light on what happened at the scene or the scene surrounding the crime. 

The weight of their testimony can be countered or punctuated by the testimony of an expert witness. The judge or jury will listen to all the testimony and determine its appropriateness and bearing on their decision. 

What is an Expert Witness?

Expert witnesses can be used by the state or by the defense team. An expert witness has specialized information, knowledge, or skills relevant to the case. Expert witness testimony is for the following purposes:

  • Offer expert testimony on scientific, technical, or other specific knowledge that would help the judge or jury understand the case’s evidence. 
  • Expert witnesses can help determine the facts in particular issues.
  • The testimony of an expert witness is based on data and facts.
  • An expert’s testimony must use methods and principles that have been widely deemed reliable.
  • The expert has applied these established principles and methods to the facts surrounding the case.

Types of Expert Witnesses and The Kind of Testimony They Can Offer

There is an array of types of expert witnesses. Some of the types that are often called upon are listed below: 

  • Medical experts: These could be doctors or nurses and other trained medical professionals who are versed in everything from malpractice to personal injury cases. They are often helpful in criminal cases when determining the type of injuries and their seriousness after an assault. They may weigh in on the cause of death in homicide cases too.
  • Vocational experts: Typically, these experts are involved in workers’ compensation cases or personal injury cases. Though, it is not unheard of for them to be used in divorce and child support cases when alimony and other financial matters are determined.
  • Engineering experts: When a company manufactures, distributes, or designs a product that causes harm or injury when used for its intended purpose, engineering experts are useful in pointing out the flaws and determining where the mistakes were made. These experts are helpful in product liability cases. 
  • Forensic experts: Forensic experts can provide useful testimony in a variety of cases. Often identifying and explaining DNA at crime scenes or drug residue on a defendant’s property. They can sometimes discount the case the state is making against a defendant if there is evidence that clouds its conclusions.
  • Financial experts: Financial experts can provide insight to the judge and jury about how money was spent or if someone is embezzling money or using it for nefarious purposes. This can be helpful in criminal cases when there is another avenue that the state should pursue.
  • Mental health experts: Sometimes, the mental health of the client is in question. Mental health experts can evaluate the evidence and the individual client and offer testimony about their mental status.

Expert witnesses provide education for the judge and jury concerning complicated matters. Often, in murder cases, forensic pathologists are called to testify about the details of an autopsy, for example. Determining the trajectory of a bullet to properly place those at the scene and determine what direction the gun was shot from can be important in cases where firearms are involved. 

Contact Us Today

If you are in need of a strong criminal defense, sometimes an expert witness is necessary to convince a jury that there is reasonable doubt in your case. At Blischak Law Firm, we truly care about our clients and will provide them with the type of expert witness testimony needed to protect their freedom and their rights in court. Reach out today to discuss what we can do for you.