That eyewitness sounds confident, but you know they’re wrong

You’re arrested on serious criminal charges, though you maintain your innocence. An eyewitness comes forward and says that they saw you do it. 

You know that this is going to drastically impact your case, but you also know that the eyewitness is wrong. They seem confident and you can’t imagine why they’d lie, so how have things gotten to this point? And what can you do about it?

Confidence doesn’t prove anything

The truth is that the confidence of the eyewitness means almost nothing, even though the jury will likely see it as important. DNA evidence has helped to show just how often eyewitnesses get it wrong, and there is very little correlation between confidence and accuracy. 

The reason is that the eyewitness, in most cases, honestly believes what they’re saying. They are making a mistake, perhaps because two people look alike, because they didn’t have optimal viewing conditions or because they are inherently biased without even realizing it. But they do not know that they’re making a mistake, and they have not seen the DNA evidence proving them wrong. 

You need to understand your rights

There are a lot of problems with a situation like this, starting with the fact that the jury may believe a confident eyewitness and think that you are the one with a reason to lie — and then assume that means your account is the one that is inaccurate. 

This can get very complex and it can be frustrating to deal with false accusations, so make sure you know about all of the legal steps you can take as you consider your defense options. Experienced legal guidance is invaluable during a time like this.