Maryland Criminal Witness Lawyer
Being called into court for any reason can be worrisome, even if you are asked to be a witness in a criminal case against someone else. The reality is, there are some real risks associated with testifying as a witness and you need to make sure you do not put yourself in jeopardy. It is a good idea to have a Maryland criminal witness lawyer on your side to look out for your legal rights as you testify if court. Contact a criminal lawyer in Maryland today.
Risks of Testifying as a Witness in a Maryland Criminal Case
Whether you are called to testify in front of a grand jury or as part of a criminal trial, there could be consequences associated with providing testimony you are being asked to offer. The potential risks that a witness could face include:
- Being charged with perjury. Maryland Code Section 9-101 defines the offense of perjury, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years incarceration for a single false statement. A witness to a criminal case must tell the same story multiple times during depositions, to a grand jury, and in the criminal trial. Since memory is faulty, it is easy for simple misstatements to be made. Unfortunately, a prosecutor could jump on those conflicting statements and accuse you of perjury.
- Being charged with obstruction. Code Section 9-306 imposes a penalty of up to five years and a fine up to $10,000 for obstruction of justice. You could be accused of this offense if you fail to provide responses as a witness in a criminal case.
- Incriminating yourself. Statements you make could be used to convict you of criminal acts if you accidentally reveal information suggesting you took part in the commission of any crime.
- Damage to your reputation: Witness credibility is sometimes called into question by attorneys trying to represent their clients. You could find yourself being discredited on the witness stand. In some cases, attorneys trying to present an alternate theory of the crime could even try to make it seem as though you had done something wrong.
- Threats of harm. Defendants may threaten to harm you and your family. In some cases, you could even be the victim of violence.
A Maryland criminal witness lawyer will try to help protect you from these and other potential consequences that could come from being called as a witness in a criminal case.
How a Maryland Criminal Witness Lawyer Can Help
A Maryland criminal witness lawyer can provide advice when you are called as a witness. Your criminal witness attorney in Maryland can also deal with police, prosecutors, and the courts on your behalf. Some of the different things a lawyer will do for you include:
- Explaining the law to you. Your attorney can help you to understand the Constitutional protections that apply, as well as criminal laws regarding offenses you could be charged with based on testimony you give.
- Rehearsing testimony. Your lawyer can give you a practice cross-exam so you’ll be more prepared to answer questions on the stand.
- Advise you on whether to answer questions. You can plead the Fifth if you believe that whatever you say could result in you being charged with a crime.
- Negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf. You may be able to get a guarantee of immunity, be placed into protective custody, get a protective detail assigned to you, or even go into witness protection.
Don’t take the risk that being called as a witness could turn your life upside down. Get help from a Maryland criminal witness lawyer as soon as possible if you are asked to serve as a witness.