Mistaken Identity

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Criminal Attorney Los Angeles – Mistaken Identity Defense

How can mistaken identity be asserted in a California criminal case?

Mistaken identity is a defense that can be raised in a California criminal case when a defendant is accused of a crime that they did not commit, but were mistakenly identified as the perpetrator. In order to assert a mistaken identity defense, the defendant and their attorney must demonstrate that there is reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s guilt based on the identification evidence presented by the prosecution.

There are several ways that mistaken identity can be asserted as a defense in a California criminal case. These may include:

  1. Alibi defense: The defendant may argue that they were not present at the scene of the crime at the time it was committed and can provide evidence to support their claim.
  2. Eyewitness identification defense: The defendant may challenge the reliability of eyewitness identification evidence presented by the prosecution, arguing that the identification was inaccurate or influenced by factors such as suggestive police procedures or the witness’s own biases.
  3. Forensic evidence defense: The defendant may argue that forensic evidence, such as DNA or fingerprints, proves their innocence and that they were not present at the scene of the crime.
  4. Alternative suspect defense: The defendant may argue that someone else committed the crime and can provide evidence to support their claim.

It’s important to note that asserting a mistaken identity defense can be complex and require significant evidence to support. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges and believes that mistaken identity may be a viable defense, it’s important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can evaluate the specific circumstances of the case and determine the best course of action.

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How could your defense attorney use “Mistaken Identity” in your defense?

An experienced criminal defense lawyer is always mindful of mistaken identity as a defense. Mistaken identity could be devastating for a defendant who is in fact not guilty. False accusations and the resulting wrongful convictions could alter lives of innocent people. They could spend months or years in prison not having committed a crime or not even knowing who the victim was. It could take years to appeal and challenge the conviction or get a reversal.

It is not unusual for a client to correctly claim actual innocence. Alleged eyewitness to the charged crime may have mistakenly or incorrectly believed that they observed the defendant commit the crime, when in fact the perpetrator of the crime was someone else.  False memory and false perception of the witnesses could have potentially led to false identification of the defendant.

Jurors are usually quick to arrive in conclusion about the identity of the defendant. However, your attorney may be able to create reasonable doubt whether a sole witness actually observed the defendant do the crime. If successful, the jury could return a verdict of not guilty.

Eyewitness identification of a suspect is one of the primary pieces of evidence the police, detectives and prosecutors look for and introduce in trial. Your attorney, however, could cast doubt on the identification by questioning the memory of the eyewitnesses by pointing out that the witness is unable to remember the important details of the incident. Your lawyer could also show evidence that the defendant has a striking resemblance to the actual perpetrator of the crime. Therefore the witness’s perception was distorted due to confusion.

Unfortunately one of the leading causes of mistaken identity is improper police tactics, police mishandling of an investigation or even police misconduct. Police are sometimes unduly suggestive when conducting photo line-ups or in-field show-ups. Even when conducting in-person interviews of witnesses, it’s not uncommon to see that the detective is leading the witness to mention a particular individual as the perpetrator.

If you were not even at the scene of the crime, your lawyer may be able to establish a verifiable alibi. He can arrange further line-ups, look deeper into fingerprint evidence or analysis, order past booking photos. He can identify and interview witnesses who may contradict an eyewitness misidentification.

Please note that mistaken identity defense is different from “Mistate of Fact” defense. For more information, visit: Mistake of Fact

If you believe you have been the subject of misidentification, we understand your situation. But you should know that with solid and caring legal representation, you can in fact prove your innocence.

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