If you have been accused of sexual misconduct in Florida, you could be facing some very serious penalties if you are convicted. In order to get a conviction, prosecutors often go to great lengths to build a case against you and prove to a judge or jury that you are guilty of violating state or federal laws.
One such resource that they may use is an expert witness. However, it is important to know that both prosecutors and the defense can call in expert witnesses, so it can be crucial to understand what makes a witness an "expert" and how his or her testimony could affect your case.
Expert witnesses are people who are called to make opinions in court. In order to be considered an expert, a person must have suitable experience, training, education or knowledge of a particular issue. For instance, a doctor may be called to give an opinion on evidence of sexual trauma; a computer forensics expert can testify about matters related to electronic storage or communications.
In accordance with the Federal Rules of Evidence, testimony by an expert should be based on specific knowledge of facts or data that are known to the witness or have been observed personally.
However, it is important to note that the opinions and testimony of expert witnesses are not immune to challenge. Opinions can be contradicted and the background or experience of a witness can be called into question in an effort to change how a jury may respond to his or her testimony.
An expert witness can prove to be of great value or detriment when it comes to criminal charges stemming from sexually-related offenses. Having the knowledge and experience to retain or challenge expert witnesses can be just one powerful tool in criminal cases which is why having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side in these situations can be essential.