Expert Witnesses: Key Contributors to the Justice System

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If you watch crime-related TV shows or movies, you have no doubt seen professionals called to the stand to testify before a jury. These specialists often come from a wide range of backgrounds, so what really qualifies a person to be an expert witness? What impact do these authorities have on legal proceedings? Consider a few key facts that may illuminate the function and significance of these peoples’ testimony in the courtroom.

What Is an Expert Witness?

Expert witnesses serve an essential purpose in various types of trials. Whether a case involves civil or criminal matters, experts provide testimony to support or refute a certain course of events. This testimony may aid either the prosecution or the defense by swaying the perceptions of the jurors in regard to the available evidence. 

Expert Witness Examples

These witnesses may come from myriad lines of work. The type of expert called upon in a specific trial varies according to the subject matter relevant to the case. For example, a bank expert witness may be valuable in a case involving fraud or broken financial contracts. Medical experts may be useful when someone is accused of committing a violent crime. Psychologists may serve as witnesses when the defendant’s mental status is called into question.

Qualifications of an Expert Witness

There is no particular path expert witnesses follow in order to offer their testimony. Many experts have upper-level degrees in the relevant subject matter, while others may have years of experience. For instance, a seasoned professional mechanic may provide key insights in cases in which cars were involved in a crime.

Though they need not have in-depth knowledge of legal proceedings, expert witnesses are a critical component of the justice system. Without these specialists, it would be difficult to determine whether the facts lawyers present are valid. Thus, these witnesses promote the revelation of truth in civil and criminal cases.