There are many myths people believe about who can or cannot testify against someone. It is true that a husband or wife cannot be required to testify against their spouse (in almost all situations). It is true that a psychologist can generally not be required to testify against their client. However, an accomplice can be required to testify against you. Keep reading to learn why and how, then contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252 if you are in need of a free legal consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What is an Accomplice?
First, let us make sure we are all on the same page about what we mean when we use the term “accomplice.” This is a person that the district attorney charges with aiding, abetting, or encouraging someone else to commit a crime. Not only can an accomplice testify against the person they committed the crime with, but the prosecution often offers leniency in sentencing or even total immunity if a person cooperates and testifies against the person who allegedly committed the crime with them.
An Accomplice Can Be Found Guilty of the Same Charges as the Named Defendant
In California, if an accomplish is found guilty, they can be liable for the same charge as the person they helped. Whether or not a person acted as an accomplice is a question that the jury must determine. Remember that an accomplice is someone who does more than watch the crime, but who actually somehow aids, abets, or encourages the crime to be committed.
The Issues with Accomplices Testifying
While an accomplice can testify against you, your defense attorney will have a strong case to impeach them. Why? Because it can be hard for the jury to find the accomplice’s testimony reliable. This is why California law requires that any testimony from an accomplice is corroborated with other evidence. If it is not, then it is not admissible at trial. This prevents the perpetrator of a crime from claiming that another person committed the crime.
While this is good news for a person facing a criminal charge, it is also important to note that the evidence corroborating the accomplice’s testimony can be circumstantial or it can come from testimony of the defendant. However, the evidence cannot rely on information from the accomplice’s own out-of-court statements.
Doe any of this sound confusing? Are you still worried about an alleged accomplice testifying against you? Then contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre now at 800-572-1252 to request a free legal consultation. We have years of experience assisting criminal defendants and are ready to fight for you.