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Can I Face Criminal Charges Based Solely On Someone Else’s Testimony?

If you have been accused of a crime, you may be wondering if the prosecution can charge you based solely on someone else’s testimony. The answer is not simple, as it depends on the type of crime, the type of testimony, and the quality of the evidence. That said, if you’re accused of committing a crime in any capacity, the most important thing you can do is hire a competent Red Bluff criminal lawyer who can defend you at every turn. Read on to learn more.

Can the prosecution charge me with a crime based on another person’s testimony?

Generally speaking, the prosecution can charge you with a crime based on someone else’s testimony, as long as that testimony is credible and corroborated by other evidence. However, there are some exceptions and limitations to this rule.

One exception is the crime of treason, which is defined by the U.S. Constitution as levying war against the United States or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. The Constitution also states that no person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. This means that the prosecution cannot rely on a single witness to prove treason, but must have at least two independent sources of evidence.

Another exception is the crime of perjury, wherein an individual willfully lies under oath during a judicial proceeding. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a conviction for perjury cannot rest solely upon the uncorroborated testimony of a single witness; rather, there must exist supplementary evidence that unequivocally exposes the falsity of the statement. This means that the prosecution must have some additional proof that the defendant lied, such as documents or recordings.

What is immunity?

A limitation on the use of testimony to charge someone with a crime is the doctrine of immunity. Immunity is a legal protection that prevents a witness from being prosecuted for a crime based on their own testimony or any evidence derived from their testimony. Immunity can be granted by a prosecutor or a judge in return for the witness’s cooperation in a criminal investigation or trial. There are two main types of immunity: transactional immunity and use and derivative use immunity.

Transactional immunity, also known as total immunity, provides an all-encompassing shield against any future charges based on any matter related to the testimony. It should be noted that the federal criminal justice system does not provide transactional immunity, though numerous states do exercise this prerogative.

On the other hand, use and derivative use immunity protects the witness from having the prosecution use their statements or any evidence discovered from their statements against them. The prosecution can still bring charges based on the same crime against the witness, as long as the charges are based entirely on independent evidence from a different source.

If you have further questions, or you need a competent attorney in your corner who can fight for your future and freedom, please don’t hesitate to contact Cohen Criminal Law.