When can you lie on the witness stand?

This week I want to share with you a lesson that I’ve tried before to share.

I’ve recorded it and deleted it and just not been happy with it. This week I’m going to push through and share it with you.

Why have I held off for so long? For 18 months or more and I wanted to share this with you. Every week when I blog and try to give you something a very specific lesson. Not just the story of a case that I’ve worked on, but solid usable information.

This week I do have a lesson for you and it’s pretty fundamental and basic. I’ve just been reluctant to put it out there because it’s so fundamental, part of me wants to believe it doesn’t need to be said… but, it probably does.

This is a criminal defense case I worked and the man, my client, was accused of drunk driving.

The police found his car in a ditch on the side of the road with him still in the car. Naturally, they called paramedics and the paramedics come down and checked him out.

As they’re bringing him out of the ditch, his foot slips and he bumps his head on the running board of the ambulance that came to help him.

The medics checked him out to see that he was okay and the officer begins a field sobriety test, which the man fails.

More than that, he had just come from a bar and he had been in there for hours.

So when he fails the sobriety test he’s charges with Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence (OMVI).

Fast forward several months…

One of the attorneys that I’ve worked for calls me in as the investigator of this case.

I began, as I do for all criminal defense cases by looking at the state’s documents. I look at the arrest record information sheet and other reports and then I begin my investigation by visiting the scene and interviewing people.

One of the people who was there that night was the man’s girlfriend who was also with him in the bar and who swears he did not drink when he was in the bar. So how credible is that? Of course, your girlfriend’s going to back you up! Naturally she said, “No, he didn’t have a drink. He was there for hours but he didn’t have anything to drink.”

It’s very unusual that a case actually goes all the way to trial but this one did…

Here’s the interesting thing. When the girlfriend was up on the stand testifying, the prosecution asked her, “Did you see him do the Field Sobriety Test?” She answered, “Yes, I did.”

Next the prosecution ask, “How did he do?” She says, “He did terrible. He looked absolutely horrible on the sobriety test.

The defense’s argument is the reason he failed the sobriety test (the mechanical moves the officer had to do on the side of the road), was not because he’d been drinking, but because he had banged his head on the running board of the ambulance and that was disorienting.

If I recall it correctly, I’m pretty sure he did end up being found not guilty on the charge.

Here’s The Key Lesson:

When asked her about the Field Sobriety Test she said, “He did horrible.” She told the truth.

Then the girlfriend said he did not drink in the bar. How believable is that?

She was an important witness in this case because she was the person who was saying the man had not been drinking. Why was she believable when she said that?

It’s because she told the truth about the Field Sobriety Test!

If she had said, “Well, you know, he bumped his head so how would you expect him to do?” Or if she had said, “I think he did okay – you know- looking at it from my point of view.” She would not have been credible! If she had told that “little” lie, it would have made her look like she’s not telling the truth at all. They would look back at the testimony she gave about him not drinking and figure she must be lying about that too!

But she told the truth even when it was ugly, even when it worked against her boyfriend! So it paid off when she told the truth about him not drinking because she was believable!

What’s In It For You…

But here’s the thing… I want you to see, being honest, telling the truth especially under oath where you are obligated by law, that pays off! That is not something you can fudge on. This is not a thing where you can say,”My case is different.” or “I’m just telling my side of the story in the best possible light.” or whatever.

You have to tell the truth when you are under oath.

I would say simply, “Don’t lie at all in life.” (This takes tremendous effort.)

Telling the truth on the witness stand is beneficial to you even when it seems like it’s going to hurt.

Committed to you success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

P.S. – Don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it on the home page of my blog.

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