Is It Necessary to Take the Stand at My Criminal Trial?

Are you considering taking the stand and testifying under oath at your criminal trial? Before you do, it’s critical to understand why defense lawyers usually don’t allow their clients to do this, how it can negatively impact your case, and where to get adequate legal advocacy. Here’s what you need to know. 

Cross Examination of a Defendant Is High-Risk 

While taking the stand to defend yourself may seem like the best way to assert your innocence in front of a jury, it’s actually a high-risk move that could potentially weaken or even destroy your case. It’s easy for prosecutors to make you look nervous or flustered under cross examination, and juries often don’t account for lawyers whose line of questioning is aggressive. 

Claiming to Be Innocent in Court Isn’t Necessary 

You don’t need to claim your innocence on the stand to reach a verdict in your favor. In fact, the court system presumes a person who is charged with a crime, also called the defendant, innocent until the prosecution can bring enough evidence forward to prove otherwise beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s arguably in your best interests to sit tight and what to see what evidence the prosecution brings that needs to be rebutted. 

The Perception of Which Side Has the Burden of Proof May Shift 

An unfortunate potential side effect of taking the stand is potentially causing the jury to assume that it’s your responsibility to prove your own innocence instead of the prosecution’s responsibility to prove your guilt. This can be difficult to fight because you truthfully may not know it has occurred. If it does, your risk of receiving a guilty verdict is much higher. 

A Better Defense Strategy 

Instead of focusing on illustrating your own innocence, a better strategy may be to dismantle as much of the prosecution’s offense against you. You can often do this by working with your attorney to file motions that dismiss evidence that was obtained illegally or should otherwise not be permitted in a court of law. 

Get Help From a Seasoned California Criminal Defense Attorney Before It’s Too Late 

Were you charged with a crime in California? Your future, rights, and livelihood are on the line and you simply can’t afford to make a mistake right now. Jennifer Mouzis is a seasoned Sacramento criminal defense attorney who can assist you. Call Mouzis Criminal Defense today at (916) 822-8702.