Types of Witnesses Allowed in Arizona Courts

types of witnesses

Types of Witnesses Allowed in Arizona Courts

Building a legal case in Arizona is most likely going to involve witnesses. They can be useful in both criminal and personal injury cases. Understanding the three key types of witnesses can help you build a strong case with your lawyer. 

There are three types of witnesses who can testify in court: lay witnesses, expert witnesses, and character witnesses. We explain what each type of witness can do, and how witness testimonies can affect court cases in Arizona.

The Three Types of Witnesses 

For both civil and criminal trials, there are three types of witnesses that may be called on to testify. When a witness is presenting evidence in an Arizona court, they are not allowed to state an opinion, their testimony must be based on facts. 

Lay Witness

A lay witness is an average person who has knowledge of the incident. They are typically people who were involved or at the scene. Their testimony may be about something they saw or heard firsthand. First-hand witnesses can have a significant impact on court cases, as long as they are trustworthy and honest.

Expert Witness 

These witnesses are experts in their field, and are called on to use their scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge to inform the jury about a specific fact. For example, a doctor might explain how an accident caused certain types of injuries, or an electrician might explain how a fire was caused by arson rather than faulty wiring.

Character Witness 

A character witness is called on to give specific evidence regarding a person’s reputation. For example, a criminal defense attorney might use character witnesses to establish that even though their client is on trial for assault, they are not known to be violent. 

Witnesses Can Change the Outcome of a Court Case 

In both civil and criminal trials, the witnesses can make or break a case. Witnesses can be used in a myriad of ways by either of the two parties in a lawsuit. It is up to the judge and jury to determine whether the witnesses are trustworthy and truthful, and if the information they present has bearing on the case. 

How witnesses conduct themselves can play a large role in their impact on the case. When a witness does not appear truthful, or seems to forget details, they have a negative effect on a court case. This is why personal injury claims—and some types of criminal charges—have statutes of limitations. These time limits for filing a case are intended to help keep the evidence fresh, and ensure that witnesses remember the incident accurately. 

A good witness typically needs to check four boxes: 

  1. They dress appropriately for court. 
  2. They speak clearly, without mumbling or swearing.
  3. They are punctual for the trial time.
  4. They stay on topic, and only relay useful information related to the case.

How to Secure the Best Outcome for Your Case 

If you are facing a criminal or personal injury trial, you need a good lawyer on your side. They can help you determine if witnesses will help secure a better outcome, decide which people to ask to be witnesses, and help you organize a winning case. 

Here at Van Norman Law, we understand the impact a winning verdict can have on your present and your future. If you want the best outcome for your case, we can help. With over 25 years of experience, we know what it takes to win. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.



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