Do I Have to Testify at My Florida Criminal Trial?

by | Nov 19, 2021 | Criminal Attorney

In every criminal proceeding, an accused person has the option of testifying or not testifying. If a person refuses to testify, this may not be used against them or to imply culpability. However, just because a suspect can testify does not imply it is a wise decision. Typically, criminal defense attorneys counsel their clients not to speak in court. Here’s why.

Nervousness May Be Interpreted As Guilt

A court hearing can be emotionally draining, especially when there is so much at stake. Many defendants struggle to cope with stress and feel anxious, irritated, or worried while on the stand. Even if they are innocent, the jury may mistakenly perceive these mannerisms as evidence of guilt and exploit these in an effort to nail down a conviction.

Unlike law enforcement officers, who have been trained to participate in a court trial, the majority of criminal defendants have minimal experience testifying. The questions asked are often perplexing, and even a minor mistake can be used to condemn an otherwise innocent person.

You Are Not Required to Take the Stand

It’s a common misconception that criminal defendants are required to take the stand in order to offer their version of events. Many people who are innocent under Florida law assume that if they just get up in front of the court and tell the truth that the whole issue will resolve itself.

Unfortunately, prosecutors are looking for someone to prosecute. The evidence doesn’t necessarily have to fit like a glove to sway a jury to convict. However, it’s much harder to twist your words against you and paint a different picture from the truth if you don’t testify.

Testifying Isn’t Actually Necessary

In reality, your testimony won’t do much to impact your case for the better. Prosecutors in a Florida criminal case have the burden of proof that you committed the crime beyond reasonable doubt. Your defense attorneys typically will dismantle their case by attacking the validity of their evidence and credibility of their witnesses.

Charged With a Crime? Call Michael T. Rabideau Today

Don’t wait for law enforcement to infringe on your rights during a criminal investigation. Contact experienced Florida criminal defense attorney Michael T. Rabideau now for more information or to schedule your initial consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. Call now by dialing (561) 820-4848. Serving all of West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Wellington, and surrounding areas in Florida.