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Do witnesses always tell the truth to the police?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

If you are facing criminal charges and the police tell you they have a witness, you would be right to worry. Witness accounts have helped secure prosecutions for many crimes. The problem is that people can place too much faith in them and forget that not all witnesses tell the truth.

Here are some reasons why an eyewitness might not tell the truth:

1. They want to cover for themselves or someone else

Think back to the school playground. How many times did you see a teacher ask a child who did something wrong who did it, only for them to point the finger at another? 

Admitting guilt comes with consequences, so many people prefer to lie and redirect the eyes of the law toward someone else. It’s not just themselves they might cover for, however: People often blame others to cover for their family, friends, those to whom they owe a debt or those they fear – like a local crime boss or their dealer.

2. They want to settle a score

Maybe you helped the police convict someone many years ago. When they get out of prison, they may jump at the opportunity to return the favor and set you up for a crime you did not commit. People find all sorts of ways to settle old scores.

3. They honestly thought they did see you

Many mistaken eyewitnesses have no ill intentions. They just got it wrong and thought they saw you when they didn’t. 

If a witness accuses you of a crime and the police believe them, you will need legal help to fight the charges and avoid the harsh penalties that could result if convicted.