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Should I Testify at My Own Criminal Defense Trial?

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At Lotze Mosley, LLP, our Maryland and Washington D.C. criminal defense attorneys want anyone who has been charged with a crime that is going to trial to understand that they should always listen to their attorneys when considering taking the stand — even when that attorney is not one with our law firm.

There are multiple reasons why a defendant may take the stand, and scores of others why they should not. This decision is determined on a case-by-case basis.

However, there are pros and cons to each of these decisions, which will be explained by your legal counsel. Here, we list just a few examples.

What Will My Criminal Defense Attorney Consider When Weighing Whether to Put Me on the Stand During Trial?

All criminal defense cases are unique and are managed by the defendant’s legal counsel based on their individual charges, criminal histories, and what they believe will net the best outcome for each case.

When making this critical decision, everyone involved in the case must consider:

  • Will taking the stand lead to incriminating yourself?

From arrest through trial, you have the right to remain silent. Choosing to testify means giving up certain rights, as you will be voluntarily making statements about a potentially incriminating matter. If the cons of this line of questioning outweigh the pros, you should probably avoid taking the stand.

  • How will the jury perceive you?

The jury’s obligation is to scrutinize the testimony of anyone who takes the stand. That includes witnesses, expert testimonies, and you.

If your attorney believes they will perceive you in a negative light, or think you are appearing evasive, nervous, or uncomfortable while giving your side of the story, you may give the jury the impression that you are trying to hide something. This is not a positive position and will be considered when your criminal defense attorney consults with you regarding your testimony or why you should not testify.

What If I Think My Testimony is Important to My Case?

Your criminal defense lawyer will help you understand your legal rights and options during a trial, and their expertise should be taken seriously, as they — like us — always put their client’s best interests first. If you do not have a criminal defense attorney and are facing serious charges that may lead to a trial in Washington D.C and Maryland, contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys at Lotze Mosley, LLP to ensure your rights are protected going forward by calling 202-393-0535 today.

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