Knowledge is power. This is certainly true when it comes to litigation. Those who enter the process without a full understanding of the facts at hand can find themselves taken advantage of during settlement negotiations or taken by surprise at trial. Neither scenario is desirable given that they can both lead to unfavorable outcomes. But how does an individual make sure he or she is fully informed when dealing with litigation?

One of the best ways is to conduct depositions. A deposition is the taking of testimony from a witness prior to trial. The process unfolds just as a trial would, with both sides questioning the witness and objecting as needed. The witness’s responses are recorded and later transcribed. This process allows the parties to determine what information a witness possesses, but it also allows them to pin down a witness’s testimony.

This latter benefit of a deposition can be crucial. In the event that a witness changes his or her story while testifying at trial, which happens all too often, the transcript from the deposition can be used to draw the credibility of the witness’s trial testimony into question. This may allow a judge or jury to give the witness’s testimony less weight, which can have a significant impact on the outcome of a criminal trial.

Engaging in thorough, holistic discovery is critical in the criminal defense context. Failing to do so can leave a defendant hobbled in his or her criminal defense approach, thereby risking a devastating outcome. Therefore, those who are looking for the best way to combat criminal charges may want to think about the best way to prepare for plea negotiations and trial, which might mean acquiring the assistance of a legal advocate who can aggressively represent their interests throughout the process.