Should you worry if the police have an eyewitness?

Should you worry if the police have an eyewitness?

If the police arrest you on suspicion of a crime, they may tell you they have an eyewitness to back them up.

The first thing to understand is that they might be bluffing. Many people inadvertently give the police information because they think the police already know it.

Telling a scared suspect that there is an eyewitness or that someone else has told on them are such effective tactics that questioning officers will likely continue to use them as long as they are allowed.

Eyewitnesses do not guarantee a conviction

However worrying the prospect of an eyewitness might seem, remember you always have a chance to contest their account and question their reliability.

It’s easy to assume an eyewitness is someone no court would disbelieve. Your old school principal, for example. Yet often, they are anything but reliable.  For example:

  • They are a convicted criminal: Maybe they committed the crime and will stand up and swear it was you to save their skin. Or perhaps they offered to say they saw you because doing so may lessen the sentence they face for something else.
  • They have addiction issues: Maybe they think they saw you, but maybe they also struggle to remember what day of the week it is when they are high on addictive substances.
  • They are almost blind: Imagine a jury watching an eyewitness who can’t find their glasses bump their way up to the witness stand. Do you think they would be convinced that their version of events is true?

Regardless of how sure the prosecutors appear to be about getting a conviction, you always have a chance of beating criminal charges if you have adequate legal help.