California Criminal Defense Strategies if Your Accomplice Testifies Against You
According to California Penal Code 31, an accomplice is a person who aids, abets or encourages someone to take part in a crime. The accomplice operates under the intent that the person commits the crime.
So what happens if your accomplice testifies against you in California? The prosecution can call an accomplice to the stand to testify against you in exchange for a lesser sentence or even to avoid prosecution for their part in the crime.
Under California law, an accomplice to a crime can be charged with the same severity as the person who commits the crime. So an accomplice has some serious motivation to testify against a criminal.
Your best chance at protecting yourself from jail time or securing a lesser sentence when facing criminal charges is to hire a California criminal defense attorney. Here’s a look at ways your defense attorney might work to prove your innocence despite an accomplice testimony.
Defense Strategy for an Accomplice Testimony
One of the things that your California criminal defense attorney might call into question is whether or not the individual really is an accomplice. While the final decision on the matter will be one that the jury has to make, your attorney will work to bring this information to light.
An accomplice is not someone who sees a crime being committed. Your attorney might show that the so-called accomplice was not involved for classification as an accomplice.
A second defense strategy your attorney might use is calling into question the reliability of the accomplice’s testimony. Since accomplices are incentivized to testify against you, their intentions might not be entirely honorable. Your defense attorney might use their previous criminal history or previous court testimonies in other cases to show this lack of reliability.
To be admissible in a criminal trial, an accomplice’s testimony must be corroborated. This is addressed in California Penal Code 1111. The law states:
“A conviction can not be had upon the testimony of an accomplice unless it be corroborated by such other evidence as shall tend to connect the defendant with the commission of the offense; and the corroboration is not sufficient if it merely shows the commission of the offense or the circumstances thereof.”
Therefore, for an accomplice testimony to be used in the court case against a defendant, there must be some outside evidence that further links the defendant to the crime.
Why You Should Hire a California Criminal Defense Attorney
From the moment you are arrested or charged with a crime, you should seek a California criminal defense attorney. No matter how much you think you know about the law or believe you can defend yourself, hiring an attorney will help prevent you from saying the wrong thing or accepting a sentence you don’t deserve.
Here’s why you should hire an attorney as soon as possible and the benefits of having an attorney guide you through a criminal case.
- An attorney knows the legal process and can protect your rights from the very beginning.
- Your attorney might be able to negotiate your release before you are formally charged with a crime or begin a court case.
- Having an attorney makes you far more likely to negotiate more favorable terms even if convicted.
- By negotiating your case early, your attorney can help save you some time and protect your good name from unwanted bad publicity. Your attorney will begin this negotiation from the moment you are arrested or charged.
Most criminal defense attorneys offer a free consultation to get to know you and your case. No matter what phase of your criminal case you’re in, you can benefit from bringing in a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.