This is the next post in my series on the handling of federal charges in the Southern District of Texas. My last article discussed the types of charges commonly brought in the federal system. It also stressed the need to immediately contact an attorney if you or a family member have been arrested. Federal Courts have complicated and strict rules that must be adhered to, so it is crucial to retain an experienced professional to assist you with your case. In this article I will discuss how to deal with expert witnesses if the matter requires one. Contact my Laredo office online or by telephone today if you or a loved one are facing federal charges.
The Federal Rules of Evidence permit expert witnesses to testify on relevant matters regarding their specialized skill, knowledge, or experience
In cases dealing with federal charges, it can be necessary to present evidence involving certain knowledge, training, or skill. This is because federal cases are incredibly complex and may involve situations requiring a professional’s perspective. According to Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, an expert witness must have scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge on the subject. The expert witness is introduced to help the judge or jury to better understand certain evidence or to determine a fact in issue. For example, an expert witness with a chemistry background may be called in a federal drug case to identify the chemical disposition of a substance. This is because the average person does not have the requisite education or training to establish such facts.
In fact, the Federal Rules of Evidence strictly prohibit people that do not have such expertise, otherwise known as lay witnesses, from sharing their opinions on these matters. Moreover, a witness is not an expert simply because they read a book or took a class on the subject. Rather, a person is an expert if they have extensive experience in a specific field or discipline beyond what is expected of the average person. Someone is also an expert if they had formal education, spent years practicing in a certain career, received special certifications, and more. Furthermore, the most credible experts are those that can reach conclusions without letting their personal biases sway their opinions.
It is important to remember that expert witnesses can only testify their opinion within their expertise. Their opinion must be based on sufficient facts or data, as well as reliable methods in their field. For instance, an expert witness may testify, based on their several years as a narcotic’s officer, that a defendant participated in a drug transaction. The expert witness may not, however, testify as to the defendant’s state of mind, or intent, to sell drugs. These issues are reserved for the jury. The testimony would also not be admissible if it was not based on scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge typically relied upon in the expert’s field.
If you are facing federal charges in Texas, you should contact an attorney that has experience dealing with expert witnesses
Dealing with expert witnesses can sometimes be confusing. However, expert witnesses are often necessary when defending criminal charges in Federal Court. If you have been charged with federal crimes, it is crucial to retain an attorney that has experience dealing with such matters. Not all attorneys are licensed to practice in Federal Court and not many have personally dealt with criminal matters brought by the US Department of Justice. Attorneys that specialize in federal matters are better equipped to advocate on your behalf.
I am a Laredo federal defense lawyer who is licensed to practice in the Southern District of Texas. Once retained I will take immediate steps to protect your interests. This includes conducting a proper investigation, filing any necessary motions, and taking other steps in furtherance of your case. I pride myself on providing the highest level of service and achieving positive results for my clients. Contact my office online or by telephone today to schedule an initial consultation.