Calling an expert witness in your case

When defending yourself against criminal charges in a Wheeling courtroom, it is easy to feel as though the cards are stacked against you. Several of the clients that we here at The Scott C. Brown Law Office have worked with in the past can attest to the fact the prosecutors often have extensive resources to utilize when arguing cases. Among these resources are experts in various scientific fields related to criminology. Their testimonies can often carry a lot of weight. To counter them, however, you are permitted to call expert witnesses of your own. 

According to the West Virginia Rules of Evidence, expert witnesses can be called upon to offer an opinion if that opinion will help to understand evidence that has been presented or to help clarify a fact at issue. A witness may be qualified as an expert based on any of the following five elements: 

  • Knowledge
  • Skill
  • Experience
  • Training
  • Education

An expert witness may base his or her opinion on information, facts or observations even if such elements have been deemed inadmissible. It simply needs to be shown that any expert in the field the witness was qualified in would use the same data to form a similar opinion. In such a case, his or her opinion would be admissible. You or your legal representation may even be able to cite such inadmissible elements if it is believed the value they offer in helping a jury understand the expert's opinion is greater than the prejudicial effect they may have. 

If your expert cites a novel scientific theory, he or she must show that any conclusions made were based on sufficient facts and were produced using reliable scientific principles and methods. More information on presenting your defense at trial can be found here on our site. 

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