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Eyewitnesses often get it wrong

Say that you’re facing legal charges and there’s an eyewitness who claims that they saw you at the scene of the crime. This is some of the main evidence against you, and it’s the reason that you’ve been arrested. This person claims that you are guilty.

This is very strange because you know that you’re not guilty and you don’t understand why this person is trying to claim that you violated the law. You can’t imagine what they have to gain by it or why they would be so wrong. How could this happen?

Memories aren’t always accurate

There are numerous reasons why this can happen. Maybe the person just didn’t have a good vantage point. Maybe they confused you with someone else. Maybe everything happened quickly and they weren’t quite sure what they saw, but they’ve made some assumptions after the fact.

Another potential issue is that people do have the ability to create new memories, even if these are not authentic. This sometimes happens when people talk about what they’ve seen or what they believe they’ve seen. It can be influenced by outside factors, and these memories can change each time that that person considers them. So the problem could simply be that they thought they saw someone that looked sort of like you, and they’ve created a new memory where they are definitely sure that it was you, even though that’s not what actually happened at the time.

This can get very complicated because the witness isn’t going to understand that this is a fake memory and they’re going to trust it. That’s why it’s so important to consider your criminal defense options