If you are facing a trial for a crime in Alabama, you might wonder whether you should take the stand. Attorneys often advise their clients against doing so although there are a few reasons you might want to.
One reason that an attorney may want a defendant to avoid taking the stand is that it can be hard for a defendant to win. For example, a jury might decide that an emotional defendant is faking it and a non-emotional defendant is obviously guilty. Of course, this dilemma can also apply to the question of taking the stand at all. Jury members might assume that if they were innocent, they would certainly want to be questioned, and this could mean that they think someone who does not take the stand might be guilty. They are instructed by judges not to be swayed by a person’s decision, but for some, it may be difficult to put judgment aside.
Performance on the stand
However, being on the stand can be very stressful, and an innocent defendant who does well when questioned by the defense can come off badly during cross-examination. They might become angry or flustered. If they are unable to answer certain questions, jury members might judge them for this even though the reason for being unable to answer is their innocence.
Ultimately, the decision to take the stand should be between an individual and their attorney based on the circumstances. If you have strong feelings about taking the stand, you can state your case to your attorney although your attorney might also have strong reasons for opposing this course of action. There are situations in which it may be better to let witnesses take the stand and argue in your defense instead.