Eyewitness testimony is not as reliable as you would think. If several people witness an event, and they are asked to describe it in detail, you would be surprised at how many variations would emerge. That is why you should not rely on an eyewitness (solely) to get out of a sticky situation. Eyewitness testimonies may be unreliable.

Imperfect Memory

This is one of the most obvious reasons for the unreliability of eyewitness testimony. Human beings have imperfect memory, and you cannot always rely on a person to reproduce past events or facts as accurately as they occurred.

One reason for failing memory is that the observer may not have taken an accurate picture of the situation in the first place. Apart from that, distortion of the stored facts also occurs with time. According to WebMD, this distortion can be accelerated by interference that can come in different forms such as the introduction of a different stimulus (visual or sensory) soon after the memory is stored.

Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress can also contribute to the unreliability of witness testimony. This is because stress (both acute and chronic) interferes with memory retention. This is especially true of violent situations or situations that present some danger to the witness.

For example, if robbers break into a bank while you are in the building, you will be anxious about your life, considering that bank robberies can be very dangerous. Your stress levels can rise even further if the robbers start shooting. In such a case, you may not be able to remember the kinds of shoes the robbers were wearing or the kinds of weapons they were carrying.

Pretrial Publicity

In highly publicized cases, eyewitnesses' testimonies may also be clouded by events or words outside the courtroom. For example, you may find that by the time a case goes to trial, the media has already dissected it, discussed it, and even interviewed some people connected to the case (such as eyewitnesses and police officers). This can have an effect on an eyewitness's testimony because he or she may fail to differentiate between what he or she saw on the eventful day and what he or she heard or read afterwards.

You can't rely on eyewitnesses alone to prove or disapprove anything in court. You will need further assistance in the form of evidence, expert testimony, and legal arguments. Above all, you need the services of a lawyer like Russ Jones Attorney At Law to coordinate all these measures and defend you in court.