In many criminal cases, securing the services of “expert witnesses” to examine evidence, to advise counsel, and to testify at trial is important. An expert can be anyone with extensive knowledge or experience in a unique discipline beyond that of the average layperson. So if scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge is decided to be required to help better understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, an expert witness may be called upon.
Common types of expert evidence heard in serious criminal cases include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Blood analysis
- Fingerprint examination
- DNA fingerprinting
- Forensic firearm examination
Expert witnesses need to be qualified in some way to provide some form of important information based on their own unique and specialized knowledge. They can come from various backgrounds and areas, as the testimony provided by an expert witness will only matter in the context of the overall argument made by one side of the trial. For instance, an expert witness might be called to testify to provide information regarding a specific piece of equipment which might be involved in a criminal case.
The types of works experts perform include:
- Educate counsel by helping explain the situation and then available alternatives to the lawyer
- Evaluate a case and help determine whether a claim has merit
- Test items of potential evidence
- Conduct a series of experiments to prove, or disprove, a point
- Help the lawyer build a case, or defend a client
- Used to locate and recruit other experts who will testify at trial
- Provide a report of his/her findings to be used at trial
- Prepare demonstrative evidence to help demonstrate or explain matters
- Testify at a deposition and/or trial
The court system, and those involved with the underlying case, will legally rely upon the expert witnesses’ specialized knowledge to offer an opinion regarding the evidence or facts of the court case. The expert opinion will be used as an assistance to deliver factual evidence that expedites and explains the verdict.