Should I testify in my own defense in my assault trial?

Michigan Assault Law - As The Accused, How Complicated Does It Get If I Don't Testify at the Trial? Can I Still Win? Michigan Assault Law - If I Don't Testify - What are My Chances to Win?

The right against self-incrimination dates back into Ancient Common Law, where it was signed as a law of the English Realm and included in the Magna Carta. This legal concept has come to us down through the ages, where it was adopted as a right in our own Documents of Democracy and Freedom in 1776. While it is true that Michigan Assault Law can be complicated, this right has long been embodied within our Constitutional Case Laws and various State Constitutions, and holds that a defendant in a criminal case cannot be compelled to incriminate themselves, or called as a witness unless (s)he consents to do so. So the question commonly arises, "What generally happens when the defendant chooses not to testify at the trial - what are the chances (s)he can still win"? Michigan Assault Law makes it very clear... even the average school child is aware of this constitutional right... but how will a jury view it? To better understand, we need to look at the psychology of what goes on in the mind of the average juror.

  • For many jurors it comes down to what they perceive as simple reasoning, "If (s)he were innocent, why would they be afraid to take the stand"?
Response: This reasoning is both addressed and dispelled by the defendant's lawyer, at the outset of the trial. At Prain Law, PLLC , the defense strategy for this obstacle begins in the jury selection itself and continues on, as reinforcement, throughout both opening and closing statements. We take steps to minimize any perceived disadvantage, in the juror's eyes, of the defendant who chooses not to testify.
  • Another thought common to a juror's thinking is, "What are they holding back? What are they afraid we will find out if they take the stand?"
Response: It is the responsibility of your attorney to counter this belief using both reason and law and to convince them otherwise. One excellent resource used in Michigan Assault Law, is to use the judge's jury instruction, which states that the defendant is entitled to rely on the state of the evidence in deciding whether to testify or not. A good attorney will inform the jury that, because the prosecution has not met their burden of proof, he himself has determined, on legal grounds, not to call the defendant to the stand. Remember too, the defendant is not required to prove themselves innocent. (S)he is presumed innocent, and, based on Michigan Assault Law, the prosecution has both the duty, and the responsibility to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they fail to do that, then the jury MUST, under the law, return a verdict of not guilty.
  • Another common assumption of a juror, when the defendant chooses not testify under Michigan Assault Law, is often times, "We did not get to hear the defendant's side of the story".
Response: Through the process known as direct examination, and cross examination, the defendant's story is most definitely brought to light, through the questions of their attorney. The testimony of Police Officers, Eyewitnesses, Character Witnesses, as well as video/audio tapes, photographs, etc., brought into evidence, all tell the story as the pieces come together and fit the factors that go to the heart of the defendant's case. Under Michigan Assault Law, the answer to the jury as to why the defendant has not taken the stand, is most effectively handled in the summation. It is in the summation that all important factors of the case must be adequately addressed, explained and resolved by your legal counsel. If the jury accepts your defense, they will most likely accept your explanation of why you chose not to take the stand. Want more information on Michigan Assault Laws? You can get more information by contacting Prain Law, PLLC , or get a free consultation by calling our office at (248) 731-4543.
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