How Are Expert Witnesses Used in Criminal Cases?

A criminal conviction could land a Colorado resident in
prison for a significant period. But, there’s more. Having a conviction on your
record could result in damage to your reputation and a series of other lasting

If you’ve been accused of a serious crime in Colorado,
you must be prepared to face these charges, whether that means negotiating the
best deal available or taking the matter to trial. Should you decide to go to
trial, you’ll want to make sure that you have the strongest legal defense

One defense method that can be beneficial during a trial
is the use of expert witnesses. Colorado law specifies how different types of
testimony are admissible in court, and this type of evidence can strengthen
your case if used properly.

Expert vs. Lay Opinion Testimony in Colorado

According to the Colorado Rules of Evidence, testimony is
separated into two categories: lay opinions and opinions by expert witnesses.

A lay opinion is testimony from anyone who is not
considered an “expert.” These are generally people who were at the
scene of a crime or who know one of the parties personally. They can give
opinions with respect to certain matters based on their observations, but these
are not necessarily people with specialized training.

A layperson might testify concerning the identity of a
person or a person’s observed state of sobriety. However, they cannot
speculate, and the court can decide how much weight to give to this type of

Expert testimony is different. Experts are people who are
asked to testify and provide their opinions about specific matters relative to
their expertise. Expert opinion is admissible if the person giving the

  • Has
    training, skill, education, experience, or knowledge relevant to the opinion;
  • Technical,
    scientific, or other specialized knowledge will help the jury in understanding
    a fact in issue or the evidence.

How Expert Witnesses Are Used in Criminal

When people think of expert witnesses, they picture
someone stepping up to the witness stand and providing testimony. In fact,
there are two ways that expert witnesses are used in criminal cases.

  • Consulting Experts.

    A consulting expert is someone that we work
    with outside the courtroom to create a strong defense. For example, a
    consulting expert could provide information that assists with the team’s legal
    strategy, such as to help determine if a DUI testing machine was calibrated
    properly. In some cases, the prosecutor won’t know that an expert was consulted
    in your case.

  • Testifying Expert.

    A testifying expert is one who your
    attorney will have ready to testify in court if it becomes necessary. This
    might be the same person as your consulting expert, but these people should
    also have certain characteristics. Specifically, they should have prior
    courtroom experience, be comfortable testifying and dealing with
    cross-examination, and be able to easily explain complex issues to a jury.

Different Types of Expert Witness Testimony

The assistance of expert witnesses can be essential to
the defense of a misdemeanor or criminal charge in federal or state court.
There are a variety of types of expert witnesses that are useful in criminal
cases, and sometimes more than one will be used. Some of the common types
of experts that we use include:

  • Fingerprint
  • DNA
  • Medical
  • Accounting
    and finance experts
  • Computer
    forensic experts
  • Polygraph
  • Firearms
  • Toxicologists
  • DUI
  • Blood
    splatter experts
  • Forensic
    science experts
  • Child
    sexual abuse/interview experts

Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Lawyers

When you’ve been accused of a crime, you only get one
chance to put forth the strongest defense possible. Failing to do so could have
grave consequences. At Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law, we understand
the criminal justice system in Colorado Springs and specialize in effective and
aggressive criminal defense.

While we may spot issues or problems that can help your
case, it has to be an expert that investigates and testifies about them. An
attorney can’t testify on your behalf. A knowledgeable expert can sometimes
make the difference between a guilty or not guilty verdict and may be able to
help get a reduction in charges.

Our firm has established relationships with experienced,
respected, and knowledgeable experts in various areas across the Southwest. We
will always recommend this approach when it might improve the outcome of your

Whether you are facing charges for DUI, drug crimes,
white collar crimes, sex crimes, or some other serious matter, our legal team
wants to speak with you about your case. Contact our office today at (719)
473-9099 to schedule an initial consultation.