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Can my friends come out and testify for me in my Tampa criminal case?

Tampa criminal defense lawyers are always asked about character witnesses on behalf of their clients. In short, Florida law regulates positive character witnesses to a significant degree. The clear rationale behind this is to avoid a criminal trial simply becoming a matter of calling witnesses that are only going to say someone is a good person and wouldn’t commit a crime like this. The Florida evidence code includes many provisions defining what constitutes relevant and admissible evidence relating to someone’s character. In the overwhelming majority of situations, someone’s character is simply not a relevant factor to be considered during a criminal matter. It may be necessary eventually, though, if someone is found guilty at trial, for individuals to come in and testify regarding the character of the party for mitigation purposes at sentencing. Unfortunately, though, the admission of positive character evidence at the trial level is heavily regulated.

It is worth noting though, that if the State attempts to offer character evidence relating to an individual’s bad character or their dishonesty, relevant character evidence presented by the defendant then becomes admissible. For example, if the State attempts to admit evidence that the party or accused is known in the community for being a liar, the defendant can then admit testamentary evidence that they’re not a liar. Obviously a criminal defendant should have the opportunity to rebut or refute evidence presented by the State of Florida.

It is worth noting though, if you do call people on your behalf, they will be subject to cross-examination by either the State of Florida or the opposing party in your Tampa family law case. This often scares parties away and is somewhat intimidating because people think they can simply come to court, tell their story, and leave. This is absolutely, 100% far from the truth. It is also worth noting an individual cannot simply submit letters and/or affidavits in support of someone. We discuss the admission of letters or affidavits elsewhere on our blog, which can be found here.  They have to either provide testimony in person or, in some limited civil cases, provide testimony via telephone or Skype.

If you or someone you know has questions concerning their Tampa criminal or Tampa family law matter, contact the Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We’ve handled thousands of criminal law matters in the Tampa Bay area. If you would like to contact one of our Tampa criminal defense attorneys immediately, please use the “Contact Us Now” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website. A Tampa criminal defense attorney from our office will contact you immediately. We appreciate your time in checking out our Tampa criminal defense attorney blog, and look forward to working with you.