A witness is a person who is aware or may be aware of the circumstances that require evidence in the course of criminal proceedings. Such a person will be subpoenaed to give evidence.
In court very often there are situations when witnesses change their testimony: half of the readings recorded by the investigator using the materials of the case; the witness had signed the protocol, without going into details of what it contains (due to illegible handwriting of the investigator); signed the protocol without reading, on a relationship of trust with the investigator and more.
If a person acts as a witness in a particular case for the first time in their life, they may not fully understand the significance of this event. Few people know that the witness is assigned specific duties, in case of failure to comply with which he will face criminal liability. This list usually includes refusing to give evidence or making false statements.
Therefore, if you received a subpoena in the role of a witness, you must promptly seek help from a lawyer. In practice, very often there are situations when a suspect is questioned as a witness, and after receiving all the necessary information as a suspect in the case. Thus, all the evidence obtained by the witness will soon be directed against him. To prevent this situation, you must go to the interrogation with a criminal lawyer.
A witness may receive advice from their lawyer on disputed issues throughout the interview. In turn, the lawyer will keep written notes, with the permission of the investigator to ask questions of interest to him. According to the law, the lawyer has the right to prohibit the witness from answering the investigator’s question, but the rejected question must be recorded in the protocol. After the interrogation, the lawyer can draw up a written statement, in which he can indicate all the violations of the investigator concerning the witness and the procedure itself. All statements will also be recorded in the interrogation protocol and in the future, the assistance of a lawyer will help you avoid illegal consequences.
It is worth Recalling that as witnesses, you cannot be questioned:
- a civil plaintiff, a civil defendant, a representative of the victim, a legal entity that is involved in the proceedings, etc.;
- lawyers whose information is a lawyer’s secret;
- notaries whose information is a notarial secret;
- employees of medical institutions whose information is a medical secret related to a person’s diseases, medical examinations, personal and intimate life;
- clergymen whose information was obtained in the course of confession;
- journalists whose information is not subject to disclosure;
- jurors and judges;
- persons who participated in the conclusion of a settlement agreement in criminal proceedings;
- persons against whom security measures have been applied;
- persons entitled to diplomatic immunity or employees of diplomatic agencies (without the consent of this Agency).
Kasyanenko & Partners Law Company criminal lawyers are ready to provide you with detailed advice on how to behave during the interrogation, will be present during the interrogation, while protecting your rights and interests.