What happens if you did not commit a crime, but you saw one happen in TX? Here are some tips for witnesses.
You witnessed a drug deal happening in your neighborhood. You saw a teen shoot someone. You heard a child crying and thought they may have been abused. What are your obligations in these situations? What do you do if you are a witness to a crime?
Technically, there are no laws that require you to do anything. After all, nobody can prove that you know anything about a crime or saw it happen. The only exceptions to this rule are:
- Teachers and other professionals are considered “mandated reporters” and must report child abuse and neglect.
- It is illegal to aid or abet, or assist someone in committing a crime.
There are several main reasons why people fail to report crimes. They are afraid of being connected to the crime and therefore facing legal ramifications. They also fear that they will not be believed by police, so they do not want to waste their time. As a result, it is believed that rape and domestic violence crimes are some of the most underreported crimes.
However, you should report crimes if not for moral reasons. A witness’ testimony can be an important part of a trial. What you know about the defendant or crime may be the difference between finding someone guilty or not guilty. The criminal defense attorney will want to know what you saw and whether your side of the story will help their client. You can help bring about justice.
How to Report a Crime
To report a crime, call your local law enforcement agency or 911. They will gather information about what you saw.
If you leave your contact information, you may be asked to come to court down the line and serve as a witness. This is no minor thing. Being a witness is something that should be taken very seriously. You have an obligation to the court.
Therefore, if you are asked to be a witness, you should hire your own lawyer. That is because in court, you will have to field questions from two lawyers. They will do what they can to make you seem like a liar. They will try to spin your answers and make you seem unreliable.
A lawyer can help you prepare for your court case. They will guide you on how to answer questions truthfully without giving too much information. They will also relieve anxiety and help you feel more at ease while on the stand.
Contact Our Austin TX Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
Witnessing a crime can be a frightening situation. What do you do? Will you have to go to court? Do you need a lawyer?
Being a witness comes with a lot of responsibility. There is a lot at stake for those involved in the crime. Seek legal help from the experienced Austin criminal defense attorneys at Granger and Mueller PC. Their team will guide you through the process. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (512) 474-9999.